Children love pets and if your family can't have a dog or a cat then a small pet is a great way to go. Many children would love a pet even if the family has a cat or dog and a small pet can be something that is theirs and can make them feel grown up. However, finding the perfect pet often takes some care and you may not consider the pet that would work the best for you.

Is Your Child Responsible?
Before you decide to let your child have the pet that they want you should make sure that they are ready for it. They should be ready to take care of the pet and should be ready to feed it, water it, and keep its cage clean. You should take the time to explain what all of this means to your child and you should make sure they are ready, unless you are looking for another pet to take care of.

Spend a few months talking about what they want in a pet, how much they are willing to work for it, and making sure that they really want it. Try not to buy any animal on a spur of the moment decision. Make sure they stay interested before you buy it.

One of the more common "first" pet is the hamster. Hamsters are cute, have a good reputation, come in a wide range of colors and sizes. They are also inexpensive and don't take up much room. Because they are small, their cage requirements aren't very much and they are easy to place on the desk or the dresser without any problems.

However, before you rush out and bring home a hamster you should make sure that this is the pet for your child. Hamsters aren't very smart and they aren't very social. However, what is more important when it comes to interacting with one is that they don't really like people. Some tolerate being held, cuddled, and dragged around the room. Then there are some that don't tolerate this and they become known as bitters. In this case it is likely that the new hamster will be banished to its cage for the rest of its life and it won't be the great pet that your child was hoping for.

Gerbils are less common then hamsters, but they are still cute and people don't tend to be afraid of them. They like to watch people and they are interesting to watch. They are much more active than most hamsters, even as they age. At the same time they have a small cage requirement making them inexpensive and easy to find a place for.

At the same time, they don't want to be held. They also hold grudges and if your child drops them they may bite them every time the child tries to get them out of the cage. While they seem to like people a lot more than hamsters, it is more of a through the cage type of relationship.

At one time mice had a bad reputation and there are many a people who would never have thought to have them as pets. Now they are becoming more and more popular. They too are small and only need a small cage. They are smarter than many rodents and they are interesting to watch.

They don't really like to be held much. They often run around like crazy while you are trying to get them out of the cage. They don't seem to tame with any special amount of time either. In addition, these small creatures often become biters and escape artists.

Guinea Pigs.
Guinea pigs are adorable, larger, and friendly. They don't cost much, but they require a larger cage. This often discourages those who don't want to spend a lot of money or who don't want to take up much room. At the same time they actually LIKE people. They each have a persoanlity, they will love your child, and they will be a real friend.

Guinea pigs like to play with children, they are very tolerant, and they can be fun. They can also be in an open cage which can make them more a part of the child's life. The child can come home, cuddle, and put the guinea pig back.

Rats have a bad reputation and that makes many parents discourage their children from even looking at them. However, rats are friendly, loving, and love people. They will bond with a child, play with them, love them, and keep them as a forever friend. They are very forgiving and will even take abuse while loving the child.

I just wanted to throw in a few quick stories to make this point. My 18 month old loves our rats. After all, why wouldn't she. They are furry and just her size. However, she isn't always nice to them. Just today she was holding one and carrying it around, by its fur! The rats still love her. They wash her, hold still for her, and love her! Our rats also love our four year old. At times he has been caught trapping them in his shopping basket, tossing them in the air and catching them, and trying to get them to stay on his head. Still they go to him, wash him, and love spending time with him.

There are still a couple disadvantages to rats. First they need a fairly large size cage with small bar spacing. This can be hard to find and a bit pricey. Rats also need to be kept in pairs which means more work. However, of all the small animals I have met and kept, rats are by far the best to have with a child. They will love your child whether your child is two or twelve. They will love them if they only see them every now and again and even if they are a bit neglected.

Choosing a pet for your child can be hard. However, there are advantages to choosing the larger pets such as rats and guinea pigs. These creatures actually like people and will love your child. A mouse, hamster, or gerbil is likely only to tolerate your child. Choose a pet that will love back and the relationship is likely to be one of success!