Good First Pet for 3 Year Old

Updated on September 24, 2010
C.P. asks from Houston, TX
16 answers

My son really wants a pet. Obviously we will be the ones taking care of it.
So, I was wondering what would be a good first pet, and preferably low maintence.
I would also like something safe that doesn't carry diseases or salmonella,
like turtles. We already have a dog, we were just thinking something small that
he can keep in his room. Thanks!!

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answers from Chicago on

I agree with beta fish. We got one for my son when he was 2, and he LOVES it. He's always so concerned about Pete the Fish. Betas are very hearty fish, and much less likely to die quickly than most goldfish. They are also GORGEOUS and easy to care for.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with the fish. However, be careful with having it in his room.

We bought my son a guppy at about the same age and put it in his room. One time I walked in his room and found some of his small toys in the tank. He said he thought the fish needed toys to play with! LOL!

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answers from Columbus on

My son has a beta fish. Super easy to take care of! We had a turtle at first and constantly had to clean out the tank. My son thought it was gross so we donated it to a local pet store.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

A three-year-old with a pet? Really, you're talking about getting a family pet. I would suggest a goldfish in a little glass bowl. Easy to care for and little upkeep or requirement for attention.

Turtles live FOREVER! My best friend's parents bought him one when he was two and the thing is still around 29 years later! Herman is low-maintenance, but long-living.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If he is going to be taking care of it himself, I agree with fish. Anything else is going to require more maintenence from you. After all, you're already going to need to monitor feedings, so the fish isn't overfed & have to do most of the fish bowl cleaning. My daughter got her fish when she was 2. Learned quickly that the fish food must be kept out of reach! And while she did "help" cleaning the fish bowl, I did most of the work. Still, feeding & occasional cleaning of a fish bowl is about as low maintenence as you're gonna get. Unless, of course, you get him a pet rock ;) lol



answers from Dallas on

a little fighterfish maybe...birds are to dirty and he could hurt a hampster or something so just a little fish and see where it goes from there



answers from Sacramento on

We have 2 guinea pigs, 2 fish and a cat. For a child this age, I would get him a fish. I agree wholeheartedly with Lee, on getting a beta. My son is 5 and the guinea pigs are a little too much for him... he's just too rough still. For my daughter who is 61/2 they are the perfect pet.

Our daughter begged for a goldfish and we ended up getting her one, only we put it in a bowl. Not good for goldfish. (I didn't want a beta because I thought they were boring.) After we realized the bowl mistake for the goldfish we got a tank for him and then were left with an empty bowl. Our son wanted a fish too, so we let him pick a beta. I have to say, he is the cutest and most interactive little fish ever. He sit in the kitchen window and every time I come by the sink here he comes waving with his cute little fins and buggy eyes. We clean the bowl about 1 time a week and feed him a couple times a day. Watch the water temp, as they like it to be around 80 degrees. They also live for about 5 years or so, which I didn't know.

The only thing I would say is to monitor the feeding. Maybe you could pour the food in your sons hand and let him drop it in. Too much food will pollute the bowl quickly and you have to change the water more often.

There are so many different colors and they are beautiful!!

Good luck!!



answers from Seattle on

Beta Fish or Gold Fish! All he needs to do is feed it, but you of course need to monitor that so that he doesn't overfeed the fish. It could be very exciting taking him to the pet store and letting him pick out the rocks and tank and food and little miscellaneous things. Cleaning the tank or bowl can be a family job. He can help with cleaning no problem. Maybe keeping the fish more in your view and out of reach from him would be a better option than his room. How fun... can't wait til my son is at the age of having a little pet :)


answers from Jacksonville on

Cats are always easy to maintain and you can get them declawed if you need... my little girl is only 15 months and she LOVES her cat :)


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son has a beta and he considers it his pet just as much as our dog, who sadly passed away this weekend. They are low maintenance, easy to care for, and even though I hate fish, I do think the betas are really pretty. It's a good start. Not much investment, easy to replace (heaven forbid it's necessary! - lol), and they are nice and peaceful to watch.



answers from Cincinnati on

I would stay away from rodents. I grew up with hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats, and I LOVE rodents as pets, but not to be kept in your room. They are nocturnal, and running on their wheels, drinking, eating, and digging at night will keep your son up. I think a fish is a great idea. We've had betas and guppies, and of the two, I would go with a beta. I've never had a gold fish, so I don't know how that works. Take him with you and let him pick it out and he'll be excited! Good luck.


answers from Oklahoma City on

i'd do a hamster! my daughter was 2 and 3 with her first hamster and did very well, taught her to feed and water and once a month helped ME clean the cage did very well, til mommy didn't close her cage good one night, she got out and I found her in the mouse trap a few days later. thank god she didn't find her there! i told her scrump got out and if i know her well enough she found a nice home she's happy at...she don't even remember scrump now (now 8) i mentioned her the other day and my daughter said...who?


answers from New York on

My 2 1/2 yr old daughter has a hamster. She will sit for hours just watching it. We have a plastic ball that it runs around in. She has a ball with it. Running around along side it. We also have 2 cats that we had before she was born and adores them. Plus we have a beta fish but she doesn't want anything to do with it. Everyday she gives her hamster that SHE named Miley (Miley Cyrus) a carrot. It's pretty much low maintenance except cleaning the cage every 2 weeks. You just have to make sure that they have water and food. Which we fill the bowl every week. The only downfall is they sleep all day and up all night. So we couldn't put the cage in here room. But she will wake Miley up once in a while and she runs around her cage. The only thing that she does with it is pet her. I do not let her hold it. It's too squirmy and with 2 cats that is not such a good idea. She knows that after she pets miley she has to wash her hands before touching anything else. She is very good with the hamster. She gets very excited when the hamster climbs up the tubes. We did have a 20 gallon fish tank but decided to get rid of it when my daughter thought the fish we thirsty and dumped her milk in the tank. What a mess and I had to clean the whole tank. But when we did have it we would put a little bit of food in her hand and she would feed the fish. But she would get bored of the fish too. So that is why we decided to get her the hamster. We have had it about 2 months now and she has not gotten bored with it yet. When she goes to bed she goes to the cage and says "nigh night Miley" and off she goes. And if she forgets she will jump out of bed go downstairs and tell her. It is very cute. Hamsters usually last about 3 years if taken care of properly. The problem with fish is they could last 1 day or for years. There is no guarantee with a fish. And that could lead to a very disappointed little boy. Good luck with your decision



answers from Colorado Springs on

You already know that a pet for a three-year-old is really a pet Mama takes responsibility for. My granddaughters have a Beta, and my DIL says he's rather low maintenance. Those girls are older than your son, so they all take care of him (I think it's a him) together. He's #2 Beta - #1 lived only a week, and it was traumatic. The girls had to learn quickly about short life spans.

Low maintenance is not NO maintenance. He's a living thing and needs attention and care. I'm informed by my grans that their little guy has a personality and recognizes them when they look at him.

AN ASIDE: Some readers may be thinking, "When ARE children old enough to take care of a pet by themselves?" I imagine it varies with the child and the family. My children grew up with dogs and cats, but didn't really have the responsibility for them (just the jobs). When they were in junior high we started letting them have pets that were their sole responsibility, if they were interested. They had to do research on the care of the animal before this addition to the family was okayed. Child #1 got serious about fish, child #2 had a series of hamsters (she took beautiful care of them, but they just don't live very long), and child #3 had a lovely parakeet for several years. Child #4 was set on NOT copying his siblings; however, when he grew up he married a girl and a cat (they came as a set). The kitty has passed on, but they now have two friendly, well-behaved dogs as well as a beautiful baby girl. :^)



answers from Las Vegas on

I agree a fish is perfect they can help feed it but I would suggest only you clean the bowl. My kids both have their own dog and they help with getting them food and water and snacks and letting them in and out of the house. My kids are 3 &4 years old. But they can also go nuts all of a sudden and run after the dogs and scare them.



answers from Washington DC on

Your son already has a pet....the dog! , kids ask for all sorts of things but it doesn't mean they should get it , as you already have a pet that is pretty high maintenance and a child I would tell him that he already has a pet and that he can't have anymore....not ones that are alive about a fur real friend?

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