There are some wonderful small cute and furry animals which can make excellent pets for young children. Many parents consider that a dog or a cat is too much of a commitment and is often too big to be an ideal pet for small children.
And there are some risks. There have been instances of children being savaged by their own dog, even small ones.
I personally think that one of the best small animals that makes the ideal pet for young children is guinea pigs. We have a guinea pig for my own daughter and she absolutely loves him.
They have some huge advantages as a pet. They rarely live much longer than around 5 years, so you won’t be looking after the guinea pig after the kids have left home. They are cheap to buy, usually under $20, they are cheap to feed and don’t get sick as often as other animals. They are warm and furry and like company and will happily sit on your child’s lap in the evening being petted.
Despite the fact that guinea pigs are small cheap pets there are still some important matters to think about before you get your first guinea pig. And the first of these matters is how you will house him.
Generally guinea pigs live in what is normally called a guinea pig hutch or a guinea pig cage. Guinea pig hutches or cages are normally kept outside and are often built from timber and wire, though metal is useful and easy to clean.
Normally a guinea pig hutch will have 2 areas, a sleeping area that is covered over and protected from the weather and an outdoors area where he can play and exercise and nibble grass.
You shouldn’t use wire on the floor of your hutch as a guinea pig can get a condition known as bumble foot from walking on wire.
The majority of guinea pig hutches sold in pet shops are way too small. It’s not difficult to make your own cage, and if you’re handy you can do so quite cheaply, but it is most important to ensure that it is as large as possible. If not then you must give your guinea pig time each day to run around and play and exercise.
Guinea pigs are is not hard to feed although like all animals you need to learn about what they should and should not eat. They need hay which is good for roughage and will eat a range of fresh green leaves from vegetables as well as fruits like pears and apples. Avoid lettuce and cabbage. They love grass.
Of course once you commit to a pet such as a guinea pig you need to also commit to cleaning out their cage regularly. Like with all animals young children are not particularly enthusiastic cleaning guinea pig cages and need some encouragement. And guinea pigs need to be groomed regularly to keep their hair knot free, though of course this is very pleasant work.
So if you’ve been thinking about buying a pet for the children, why not consider a small cute and cuddly guinea pig which will make the ideal pet. Just make sure you provide him with a nice big guinea pig hutch to live in and plenty of the right food.