46 answers

Thinking of Getting a Pet for My 5 Year-old Son.............

I'm trying to decide on what pet, if any, to get for my 5 year-old son. He wants a pet really badly. I don't think that I'm ready for the committment and work that come along with a puppy right now. One of my main issues with one is the chewing on everything and the potty training. I know that my son would really love to have one, though. I really don't like cats at all, so that's not an option. I am thinking more along the lines of a guinea pig. Does anyone have one of these? Does anyone have any suggestions for good pet choices for a 5 year-old? Does anyone know of any breeds of dogs that are not likely to chew, potty train easily, can be kept indoors or outdoors, and are great with children? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all of the wonderful responses and great advice! You ladies are wonderful! We finally decided on which pet to get, after lots of discussions between my husband and I and lots of research. Saturday we went and got the most adorable little cream colored lab puppy. My son is so crazy about her, as are we. She is just the cutest and smartest little thing! I did fail to mention that I love dogs, and have had labs in the past. My husband and I did about ten different online tests to help us to determine which type of dog was the right one for us. They all came back to the labrador retriever. We decided on a puppy versus an adult dog since my son would be afraid of her if we got her already grown. Since he will get to grow up with her, he will not be afraid of her. She is a lot of work, but she is so worth it. The whole family shares the responsiblity of taking care of her and training her, so it's not all in my lap. I think that she will be a perfect companion to grow up with my son. We will love taking her on camping trips and to the lake, as she will love to swim. Thanks again!!

S.

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My son and his wife had the same type issues that you have when trying to decide a pet for their 2 year old daughter. She loves animals, cats & dogs. They got her a rabbit for Easter. She absolutely loves it. My son said it is so easy to care for. They even bring it 45 miles to my house or the other grandparents house. They transport it in a pet carrier. They have a cage outside that is up off the ground. It stays in the house a lot and is very playful with this 2 year old. Just a thought! My son always had a dog while he was growing up. Boys love dogs. The pet stores or the internet will tell you the best breeds for small children.

Michelle's adivice below is exactly what you need. Get a shelter dog who's already housebroken, past chewing, good with kids, etc. You'll never have a more devoted pet.

You might wana try some fish at first to see if he will be responsible enough to feed them every day and eventually graduate to another critter maybe later on an outside puppy..(?) Good Luck...

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I agree with the turtle, I had one when I was little, well actually he just died about 5 years ago, so he was at least 17 or 18 years old. It is definitely a long term pet if you get one. Very fun for a boy (or girl ) to feed crickets and grasshoppers too although there is "turtle food" as well.

I have a dog now that get along well with the kids. Got the dog as a puppy (7 weeks)when my youngest kids were 6 months old, and he was very easy to crate/house train. I have a mini-dachshund.

1 mom found this helpful

Any puppy is going to have issues. You might be better off with an older dog who's already been trained. There are plenty of really loving kid friendly dogs out there in shelters that desperately need good homes. We have a setter and she's really good with our little girl. Retrievers are also very kid friendly dogs.

S.,

Like many other responses....check out your local animal shelter. Most of the dogs there are potty trained and need loving homes. If you do decide to get a puppy...crate training is the best way to potty train. Just like a kid...being consitiant with everything will help. Most all puppies will chew because they are teething. Labs are wonderful with kids you just have to give them there on chew toys. They train well and our very loving and loyal!! I also read where rats are great pets..I know that sounds yuck, it did to me too. But I actually read on this site where a lot of people have them and they make great pets for kids. Good Luck!

My son and his wife had the same type issues that you have when trying to decide a pet for their 2 year old daughter. She loves animals, cats & dogs. They got her a rabbit for Easter. She absolutely loves it. My son said it is so easy to care for. They even bring it 45 miles to my house or the other grandparents house. They transport it in a pet carrier. They have a cage outside that is up off the ground. It stays in the house a lot and is very playful with this 2 year old. Just a thought! My son always had a dog while he was growing up. Boys love dogs. The pet stores or the internet will tell you the best breeds for small children.

My advice is don't get a puppy. Adopt an adult dog from a shelter. Adult dogs are already potty-trained, are out of the chewing-up-everything stage, plus you are rescuing a dog who may otherwise never get adopted, because adult dogs are less adoptable than cute puppies (don't know why, because they grow into adult dogs anyway). Then you don't have to worry about the difficult puppy stage which also takes a lot of time, and if you and your husband both work full time and have a child, I know that time is not always abundant! Lots of dogs are good with children - the shelters should be able to help and you can also look up breeds online to see if they are good with children. Do a LOT of research on breeds before making the decision to bring a dog home, because pets are not disposable, they are family members, you don't get rid of them if it doesn't work out like you hoped. In my opinion, if you are getting the dog "for your son" and not mainly for yourself (for yourself as in you would want a dog for yourself even if you didn't have a child), then 5 is a little young, unless it is really going to be yours and your husband's dog. But please, if you get a pet, make sure you are getting him or her because you want a new family member and you want to give a chance at a good life for the animal - not just because you want a "toy" for your son to play with. And only get a dog if you and your husband have the time and desire to give him or her the attention dogs need, and the money for vet bills, and of course keep him indoors with the family, not outside. I don't have much advice about guinea pigs because I've never had one, but I can tell you about a friend that had one...the cage smelled really bad, so you would have to be willing to clean it very frequently. The guinea pig was so adorable and very affectionate and loved to be held and made little happy noises, and I was glad this person held the guinea pig a lot and gave him attention instead of just letting him sit in a cage all day, lonely, with no interaction. However, the bad part there is he did sometimes bite, which would not be good for a child. If you do get a guinea pig, try to adopt one from a shelter instead of buying one from a pet store. Bottom line, if you and your husband are the ones that want a dog, go for it. If it's really only your son that wants the dog, then wait until he is older and is responsible enough to give the dog the attention and care it deserves. Good luck!

Maltese. They are smart & can be trained easily. Ours has a cute & funny personality yet is very sweet. Nibbles on our 5yo & barks at him but that's only in "self defense!" They play well together. Maltese are not outside dogs because of their size & fragility & because they are not afraid of anything! Loves people.

I got a puppy for my 5 year old and what a mistake! They love each other very much but I have no shoes,- he chews them all and he has started on the furniture. As for a guina pig they can be very nice but it depends on your five year old. My brother hugged ours to death about this age. Literally, he died. There are a lot of older dogs, maybe 2 years old or so that are out of the puupy stage that need a home. My eldest dog we got when she was 2. She fits in with the family and loves the children. She is just fantastic. We got her from a fmaily that moved to CA and could not take her with them as they would be in apartments there. She is a mix of lab and sharpei and she has been the best dog and the kids just love her. Good luck and hope this helps!

On our son's 5th Birthday we got him a guinea pig. One of our older sons Teachers was given one and she already has 2 in her class. She knew Seth was wanting one because he visited hers every chance he got. He was so excited he was so good to her feed her everyday made sure she had water, played with her all the time. We had her about a year and half and she died. Our whole family was crushed we all cried dad included. Come to find out she was already 4 years old when we got her and guinea pigs live around 5-6 years. We got a new one a few weeks later. I made sure it was still a baby. 8 weeks old is how old they are usually when the pet stores get them. They are fairly big I mean they don't look like babies. It does take a little time to get then used to you. We have never been bitten by either of them they are a great pet. We just love ours. We have a basset hound great kid dog. 2 cats a rabbit and our guinea pig. Good luck with your decision.

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