Little critters. Fuzzy bunnies. Silly guineas. Pocket pigs? Well, that’s stretching it a bit. But small pets are adorable, fun and easy to care for. When you and the kids do it together as a team everybody wins!
“All in the Family” Small Pet Parenting
An adult should be the primary caretaker for a small pet, with children acting as helpers.
• Out-of-cage time should always be supervised by a grown-up.
• Children who are eight years and older are usually ready to handle a small pet with parental supervision.
• Consider chores like cleaning the habitat once or twice a week as a means of teaching kids responsibility.
• If you have a guinea pig or rabbit, children can help groom it by gently brushing while parents watch.
Wellness Welcome Wagon
When you first arrive home with a small pet, take it out of its habitat for just a few minutes at a time so it can adjust to the new surroundings.
• Kids can help by talking to your new pet, and also offering bits of food as it gets accustomed to a new environment.
• If your pet initially scurries away to hide, don’t be concerned. It will learn to come out for hand feeding and to appreciate being handled.
• Always use two hands to pick up small pets.
• Once you have a firm but gentle grip, lift your pet to your chest or place it on your lap so it feels safe and doesn’t thrash around.
• Avoid putting a pet down on a tabletop or anywhere else where it could fall.
Supervise your children while they sit on the floor and hold the family pet in their laps. If you have younger kids, encourage them to pet the animal while you hold it in your lap.
Keep a Smooth Consistency
• Children should always approach the habitat quietly and speak softly, being gentle with the small pet as they handle it and offer treats.
• Kids can be role models for visiting friends, teaching others how to handle the family pet properly.
• Take your small pet on a trip to the vet for a checkup. Your veterinarian can discuss a wellness plan that’s a perfect fit for your particular pet.
With everyone treating your small pet similarly, it’ll be calmer and easier to handle.