What was your child(rens) 1st pet?

Wendy - posted on 09/29/2011 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Our children are 4 year old daughter and 7 1/2 year old son. My hubby and I have been talking about getting our children a pet but we live in a small apartment so we dont have much room. We dont know what kind of pet that our children would love or could handle. How did you introduce your childs' pet into the family?

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Taletha - posted on 09/29/2011

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Fish are a nice addition to any home. And you don't need nothing big at all plus ithas a relaxig aspect as well

Kate - posted on 10/02/2011

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Wanted to add that I strongly believe ANY pet - dog, cat, fish, exotic - research it - see if you can and if it suits your home / lifestyle!

Angela - posted on 10/02/2011

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Just so you know rabbits are more work than people realize and need room, I do not reccomend rabbits as a first pet.
I worked as an ACO and by far we got loads of unwanted rabbits. People would let them lose...very sad. Many get put down because so many people do not realize all the work with rabbits. Guinea pigs also make babies fast. So make sure you have two of the same sex if getting more than one.
Please go to your local animal shelter, small animals are the ones that people do not adopt a lot and get from pet shops...

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Sarah - posted on 10/05/2011

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My family already has a dog and 2 cats in a small apartment. That's 3 animals too many. Ugghh. But, we love them anyway lol.

I almost bought my son a fish yesterday, but then decided against it. (He's only 2 lol) I think maybe once he gets closer to age 3 we might consider the fish thing again.

Michelle - posted on 10/05/2011

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Our family included 2 labradors and a cat before our children were born so the kids don't know life with their furry friends. We gave our daughter some fish for her 3rd birthday recently. It is her job to fed them each day (although we tip the food into her hand to ger portion size correct) and her one year old brother puts the fish food container away. She generally feeds the other animals with us anyway. Good luck on your choice.

Ashley - posted on 10/04/2011

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I've had my dog (6lb Yorkie) for a good 3 years before my son was born.We also have a cat. I've taught my son that we have to use 'nice touches' when we pet the dog, that we don't pick her up or pull on her. As long as you teach the kids how to treat animals and have a great tempered pet everything will be fine. You're children are at the age where they can help take care of it. Maybe your youngest will be incharge of feeding the pet (with supervision to make sure its done ofcourse) and the oldest can help with bathing (if you decide on a dog) and such. Go to the pound so you have a wide variety of animals, and you can see who is a fit with your family, play with them and etc. Good luck!

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We have a cat. But she isn't really our daughter's. We had the cat years before having a child. My personal all time favorite is the guinea pig. They have pellet poop so if any gets out of the cage it only takes a vacuum to get rid of it. They are very social and love gentle attention. Most often though they like a friend (male or female). They do get heartbroken though when their friend dies. We had one that refused to eat or drink because he lost his mate. We ended up getting him a new friend (male) and he did a lot better.

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As you live in an apartment, I'd either get a cat or one of the larger, less-active dogs. We have a Whippet and he really only needed walking once a day if that when he was younger. We called him our hyper active couch potato. Now he's 15 and just a couch potato. We just got a puppy, half Great Dane, half Poodle and she's fairly low energy as well. One good walk a day and she's an angel. If you do get a dog, avoid the smaller yippy ones. They don't tend to mix well with small children. If you have any doubts at all, talk to your local vet. They will have great insight and may know of an animal that needs rehoming that would be perfect for your situation.

Kate - posted on 10/02/2011

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100% agree Angela! And yes, many of them - like Iguanas -can be very dangerous!
We got our snake from a breeder so thankfully no horrifying transportation or smuggling issues associated with our particular snake - but must admit that I do feel torn about having supported a 'trade' that still has so many questionable methods associated with it!!
And yes, vet-care is very costly when needed (thankfully not often though)!
We do love our little guy - he's a sweet little thing.

Angela - posted on 10/02/2011

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Kate

I am glad you are a good caregiver to the snake. I also feel snakes can be held in captivity and cared for if done well but so many people do not do it well and buy breeds that can pose a danger.

The biggest issues I have with exotics is they get released into habitats that are not theirs. This is very bad for everyone and native species.

The transport to pet shops is very bad most times with many dieing before even arriving in the USA for example.

But I know people have exotics like snakes and love them, and take good care of them.

I just don't recommend them unless you are truly committed and they can be expensive when ill.

Kate - posted on 10/02/2011

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Again, I do agree with Angela - even though we do have a snake - they live for up to 25 years so it's a huge commitment!
Angela - reptiles are very popular here (I guess unfortunately) and I know we have a snake but personally wouldn't get other kinds of reptiles - my reasoning was that snakes aren't social creatures ie don't seek out company even in the wild and are fairly easy to maintain.
My son really is obsessed with creatures and, from when he could talk, wants to be a vet ("for snakes and sharks") when he's grown up so didn't have a problem with him having a pet snake.
I had a bird once (cockatiel) and it just broke my heart that she was in a cage.. I let her live out of it - and she'd even sit in the tree outside if I was in the garden but at night she'd put herself away in her cage - precious little thing but I will never get another bird - they really should be allowed to fly and be free!

Angela - posted on 10/02/2011

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If you or anyone has question on pet let me know I will be happy to help. As stated I worked first as a Animal Care tech and then an ACO. I gathered a lot of knowledge.

Angela - posted on 10/02/2011

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Mice, hamsters, and rats are good pets but get females males stinky! The only need cage change about 1 time a week., but the rest like Guinea pigs poo a lot and make a lot of noise.
On reptiles I personally feel these creatures should not be sold as pets. But if you decided on this realize they live a long time. The also need extra special vet care, make sure you have a reptile vet near by. I would avoid iguana's they can get mean and aggressive. I had many go to the shelter due to this. We had capture a big guy about 4ft long, he would wisp his tail at us and his jaws did not have teeth but it was like a door slamming on your fingers.
But please consider not buying reptiles they belong in the wild.

Kate - posted on 10/02/2011

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Very much agree with Angela here - bunnies do need lots of space and a garden so seeing as how you're in an apartment not a good idea!
I'm not really a huge fan of any kind of rodent - their cages need to be changed literally every day because they poo A LOT!! And it's stinks...
Not sure how popular reptiles are where you are either but apparently Bearded Dragons are awesome pets - peaceful, affectionate (believe it or not) and fairly low maintenance (they eat lettuce, some veggies and crickets).

Kate - posted on 10/02/2011

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We had 2 cats before the kids were born so they've always known cats. My son has always been obsessed with 'creatures' so 'his' first pet (when he was about 4) was a snake - he absolutely LOVES it!! (and so do I - my husband not so much!) We have dogs too now.

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i have a 2yr old and a nearly 5mth old. we have a nearly 4yr old cat, and a 18mth old dog. that said, i think the best first pet is something small, fish, little birds, mice/rats, hampsters or rabbit. my first pet was a little yellow budgie, and a white rabbit (i can't remember which was actually first i was under 3). plus smaller pets work with your smaller living space. they are easy to contain, and maintain, their cages can be cleaned out easily, and this is something that the kids can help with, giving them some respnsibily, and feeding them is easy too.

Aarin - posted on 10/01/2011

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Before our son was born we had 2 dogs, 3 cats, 4 guinea pigs, fish & horses. We have since added a pup & 2 mini horses to the house and one of the pigs has passed. Our son is amazing with all the animals. As a first apt pet I would wholly reccomened a guinea pig! They make awesome first time pets, I have had them for 30+ years and my kids will grow up with them in the house.

Jo - posted on 10/01/2011

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We live in an apt too and we have 2 dogs before she born. You can try a fish, cats are very independent but dogs are like kids too, require a lot of attention. I agree with Angela, I have a mini garden in my porch and my little girl love it.

Angela - posted on 10/01/2011

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We just bought Claire soon to be age 3 a fish aqurium, they are great fun and depending on how far you want to go can teach a child a lot. Claire has a full aqurium with live plants and 7 fish at the moment. She helps keep a whole little eco system going. It is in her room and very peacful and relaxing well enjoy it. (For safety we have a lock on the lid)
Mice and other small critters are good too. Why well they don't live long, meaning you make not a long term commitment.
We have had dogs, cats, rats, gerbils, mice, fish and by far the easiest was a cat or a Beta fish. The cats litter train easy and not walks required, live long, and nice companions but not so much for the very young.
The Beta fish wins hands down with me because it is easy, low need and cleaning the take is easy too.
try adding a live plant and enjoy!

Lady Heather - posted on 09/30/2011

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We had dogs and cats before she was born so we haven't introduced any new pet yet and won't. Maybe ever. Ha. We have enough fur in the house.

I would say if you go furry, guinea pig or bigger. Smaller furries + small children = major potential for accidental death. Fish are a great introductory pet, but you need to be ready to clean the tank and all of that jazz. In a small apartment that could be a very good choice.

Kelly - posted on 09/30/2011

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We have always had a dog, we have had a rabbit and parakeet since the kids came along. We gave my daughter a guinea pig when she completed potty training and she loves it! We have had him for about a year and a half now, our kids are 4 and 6 now. The guinea pig is very friendly and personable. He's easy to hold (once you get him out of his cage) and the kids can take care of him almost on their own with a little help from us. I have had guinea pigs since I was four myself, and they have always been great pets!

Sherri - posted on 09/29/2011

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We had our cats before the kids they have just always grown up around animals. No need at those ages to necessarily introduce a pet. They should know what is okay and not okay.

Janeta - posted on 09/29/2011

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My husband and I got our daughter a cat, she was an older cat and declawed, we have showed our daughter how to pet the cat and be easy but we also had to make the cat realize that our daughter is just a baby, our cat is very gentle with our daughter and never bites nor tries to claw her (she still has back claws) A few weeks ago my husband and I rescued a dog and we have had to introduce the dog to our daughter, we have taught our daughter that she has to be easy just like we did with the cat (she has done well because of our cat) and we have taught the dog that Ryleigh (our daughter) is just a baby and our dog is very gentle with her. our daughter loves both of our cat and our dog and our animals are very gentle with her, you have to have patience with the animals and with the child(en) as well.

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We had our dog before J was born, so for us, it was more introducing the child to the dog.

J is 6 yrs old now, and my sister bought him a beta fish for being a good boy at the pet store (she has no kids, obviously). J LOVES the fish. We've had it since June; he remembers to feed it, he watches it swim around, and he holds a mirror up to him every now and then to see him "flare out". He also uses his allowance to buy decorations for his fish bowl--we have a wide assortment for him to choose from now whenever we change the water out.

I love the fish too--it's name is Little Dragon Tail. He's easy to care for and takes up no space at all :)

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