No worries if you don’t have enough space for a big pet. You can still have a friendly palm-sized pet that your kid will love. Many adults know that keeping and caring for a pet is one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences. Also, owning a pet for a kid also helps them to learn how to take care of anyone.

Are you looking for the best small pets for kids? You have many options to choose from other than owning dogs and cats. You can get the one that is easier to care for, affordable, and does not need much attention. To decide the one from the number of best pets for young kids, you must do some research, just like you do when choosing a large pet.

When deciding on a small pet for your family, you have numerous options to consider.

Here, you will get to know about some of the best small pets for kids. You will learn about how they are different in terms of their needs and how they are the best choice for kids. 

Just go through this information before you welcome a small pet into your home.

Some of the Best Small Pets for Kids


Hamsters are one of the classic small pets that are easy to care for. These pets need to be trained to use the litter. But, these small breeds can be pretty aggressive, which makes some of these pets difficult to handle. Some experts suggest getting a larger breed, like Syrian hamsters, as they are more likely to get adapted and handled easily.

You must keep these best pets for young kids in a roomy cage. Make sure that this cage should have tunnels and nesting areas for sleeping. But don’t forget to clean the cage on a regular basis. The average age of hamsters is three years. So, before owning a hamster, you must also consider how much your kid will love to interact with this pet.

hamsters best small pets for kids

If you think that your kid will show no interest in caring for this small pet, these three years may seem so long. But, if you think of the other side, when the pet dies, it will help your kid to get the first exposure to death. This experience may upset your kid, but at the same time, it will provide the chance to learn an important lesson of life.

This thought may make you sad, but it provides a way to introduce the truth to your kid that everyone dies. You will be there with your kid as he/she goes through the experience.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs may be counted as the same rodent family as hamsters, but they have different behavior than others. These pets are gentle and have a sweet disposition. This behavior makes guinea pigs less likely to bite your kid and anyone in your family.  These pets are easy to handle because of their sociable nature. All you have to do is to hold them properly. They also love to interact with kids, which makes them one of the best small pets for kids and adults both.

If your kid is learning how to take care of a pet, you can consider getting this cuddle creature. Also, these pets are less likely to get frustrated with your kid, which is really a great plus point for you. You can also consider getting another guinea pig to get rid of the loneliness of your pet.

Guinea best small pets for kids

Guinea pigs have a longer lifespan than hamsters. They used to live around 5-7 years. Moreover, guinea pigs have more appetite, so they need more time and effort. They eat lots of hay and vegetables, which makes them messier than other small pets. It means you need to clean your pet’s cage more frequently.

Also Read: Guinea Pig Food List.


gerbil best small pets for kids

Though Gerbils are pretty easy to take care of, they do not seem to be very hands-on. If you are looking for gerbils for your kid who does not want to be more involved with the pet, they can be the best choice for your kid. As compared to hamsters and guinea pigs, gerbils have a shorter lifespan. These pets can live for just two years.

Gerbils are easy to feed because they have relatively less diet than guinea pigs. We can also say that gerbils eat similar to rats and hamsters. You can give rodent pellets, food blocks, and some supplement seed mixes. These best pets for young kids are not aggressive, which means you can hold them easily. But, you must also know that they are very fast, so they are unable to hold for long.

The quickness of gerbils means you will be able to see lots of activities in the cage. This, in turn, increases your kid’s curiosity to spend time with their pet. Also, these pets are more sensitive to the environment as compared to other small pets. Make sure that there should be no humidity around your gerbil because it may cause respiratory and fur problems. If there is something with your pet, you can consult a vet for the needed information.


rats best small pets for kids

A rat may not be on your list, but they can be some of the best small pets for kids. These small pets can be calm and laid back and also are not as nippy as other small mammals. Moreover, rats can be easy to handle, so they are considered as one of the best pets for young kids.

If you are thinking of making your kid able to build a strong bond with a pet, rats can be your ideal choice. It is so because these pets are very interactive, along with it, they are highly capable of learning tricks, such as retrieving objects. Rats are one of the small mammals that enjoy interacting with people and things. It means that if you give them toys and accessories, such as ropes and paper towel rolls, it will make them happy and occupied. 

These pets are also easy to care for and eat a rodent diet of food blocks. Just like gerbils, they have a short lifespan of 2-3 years.


Rabbits can be the best small pet for your kid as long as there is your supervision. Like guinea pigs, rabbits are the best pets for young kids. They are very gentle and have a sociable nature. Some experts recommend that all rabbits must be sterilized with the aim of preventing aggression. If you are going to have a female rabbit, you must know that she should be spayed to prevent uterine cancer.

rabbits pets

It is very important to carry out this process if you have a rabbit in your home, especially when you have more than one rabbit in the same space. The lifespan of rabbits is 8-12 years. They can be litter trained and also easy to care for. Also, it is important to give the proper diet to this pet, such as grass hay, rabbit pellets, and vegetables. It helps in making a rabbit healthy and happy.



Chinchillas are the best small pets for kids, especially for those who want to watch what their pet is doing instead of enjoying direct interaction with them. These pets are very gentle and can be very agile and fast. Some experts say that chinchillas may not be the best choice for young kids who cannot handle their pets easily.

Their diet includes chinchilla pellets, hay, and vegetables. Unlike other small pets for kids on the list, chinchillas need a dust bath instead of a water bath. Chinchilla dust, which is a simulator of the dust in the native habitat, can be easily available in the dust house. You just have to place it in a sturdy bowl or a deep dish, and your chinchilla will enjoy it in its own way.

This pet needs a dust bath 2-3 times a week. The cage of chinchillas must have multiple levels so that the pet can climb up and down. They have a lifespan of around 12-15 years. Thus, these pets are more likely to live a longer life than guinea pigs and other rodents.


Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that may not be your cuddly pets, but they are preferable pets for their cuteness and friendliness. Also, these pets have a lifespan of 5-7 years. If you get a young hedgehog and you handle it carefully, your pet will learn to grow to socialize with your kid.

Though these pets require more money to care for them, they are still one of the best small pets for kids. They are more prone to health problems. Due to this reason, they require more care than other small mammals. The experts have reported higher cases of disease to these mammals. In some cases, they have developed oral cancer and even get mites, which mean you are more likely to get higher vet bills for your hedgehog.


Also, these pets are omnivores, so they need a different diet than other small pets. Their diet must contain vegetables and special food with protein. You must consult your vet for the proper diet of your pet. If you are looking to get a hedgehog as a pet, you must ensure to check the local state laws. Some states do not allow owning these small mammals.


Ferrets are small animals that you full of energy when awake and become a limp ragdoll when they are asleep. These small pets live for about 5-7 years and are full of personality. Some of these pets are shy, while some for rough and tumble characters. If you want to own more than one ferret, you must neuter your pet, or you have to get same-sex pair for your home.

If you are an attentive owner, you can keep a single ferret. Whether you own one or more ferrets, they need a few hours of playtime out of their cage, or they need to give a free-roaming time under a ferret-proofed room. Most of the ferrets love to be off exploring.


As compared to other best pets for young kids, ferrets need a higher level of grooming, such as regular nail trimming, brushing of the coat, bath occasionally, and regular tooth brushing. These pets can be litter trained. Young ferrets must be washed at least weekly.

Points To Consider When Choosing The Best Small Pets For Kids

How will you be able to find the best match? Some experts recommend booking a consultation appointment with a vet as he has experience of caring for the different small pets you are considering. You need to consider some factors, such as:

Lifespan of the Pet

Always keep in mind that kids get more attached to their pets, so you need to consider the emotional attachment of your kid when choosing the best pets for young kids. If you choose a pet with a longer lifespan, it means you will become the sole provider of this pet when your kid will leave for college or work.

Space Needs

Just check whether you have an adequate room for the pet you are going to own or not. For small pets, you require having their proper space to live or a cage.

Care Requirements

If you don’t know much about the care for the pet, just talk with a vet about the care needs for the pet you are considering. Think if your kid is able to give proper care to the pet and how much care that specific pet needs.

Health Care Costs

Small or large pets, all require veterinary care. You need to ensure that there is a vet near you that can help you with your chosen small pet. You must also make sure that you are financially ready to take care of your pet’s health care costs.

Consider Your Kid’s Personality

You must think about whether your kid is calm enough to handle an energetic and more fragile pet. You must consider the pet’s needs as well as if your kid is able to respect those needs.

Final Words

No matter which small pet you are going to own, caring for a pet gives a positive experience for kids. Along with getting a cute companion in your home, you are going to give entertainment and educational opportunities to your kids.

The list of the best small pets for kids enables you to give the best living creature that your kid will love to interact and live with. With the required care and attention, you can make your home a happy and healthy place for your small cute pet.