Dogs have long been considered man's best friend. As one of the first domesticated animal, dogs have lived alongside humans for tens of thousands of years. However, dogs are not exactly low maintenance pets. While some pets require less maintenance than others, these pets still require you to take them outside, walk them, take them to the vet, and spend time with them. Sometimes you don't have this kind of time and attention to give continuously to a dog, and you may not have the money to spend on a cat. You may also be looking at ways to test young children to see if they are ready for the responsibility of a dog or cat. In these instances, you will want to look for low maintenance pets. Here are just a few examples.
Birds as Low Maintenance Pets
Birds can fit under the list of low maintenance pets, although it does depend on the kind of bird. Some birds can be more or less left alone. Don't just run out and pick up a bird assuming it is low maintenance. There are plenty of birds (usually larger birds) that require daily interactions with humans. If these birds do not receive interactions with humans and the ability to spread their wings, they may begin to pull out their feathers. Instead, here are a handful of low maintenance birds to consider.
Finches are beautiful looking bids with bursts of bright coloring to their feathers. These birds do not need to spend time out of their cages and they don't need to
be handled. This is the kind of bird that would rather have a second finch in the cage than have humans around, so if you invest in a finch you should consider buying two at the same time. Outside of having food on hand and offering clean water, finches are generally happy.
These are smaller, beautiful birds that enjoy the company of other canaries over humans. That's perfect when you don't have the time to take care of a bird. Another advantage of the small size of these birds is that you don't need to invest in a huge cage. Much like the other birds on this list, as long as the cages are kept clean, they will be happy.
Doves are about medium sized and while they do enjoy being around humans it isn't always vital for their happiness. The birds can be just as happy to spend time on their own, which means if you need to leave from time to time and don't want to pay for someone to come in and watch your pets, this is one option.
With doves, all you need to do is clean their cage and they will remain happy. They won't start pulling out feathers or making a racket if you're not around.
As the name would suggest, these birds are best when paired off with a second bird. If there is not a second bird the love bird may become depressed. It relies on having a companion bird, or it will need to have heavy interactions with you. So if you like the way love birds look, you should definitely invest in two.
General Rules for Birds
Birds offer you a unique opportunity for low maintenance pets. Above everything else though, before you go out and invest in a bird, make sure you check with your landlord (if you rent your home) to see if birds are okay. In a house setting, owning a bird is usually fine. However, if you live in an apartment, there might be rules on birds because they can make noise.
Hamsters/Guinea Pigs as Low Maintenance Pets
There are different kinds of hamsters and guinea pigs to consider. Both are great options for entry level pets. Of course, these pets do not typically live as long as other pets. The life expectancy is usually two years or so (although some guinea pigs can live longer). If you're looking for a longer living pet a hamster may not be the best option, but if you want to test the responsibility of a child, these are a fine choice.
These hamsters are slower, larger, and fatter than most other hamsters. It can take some time for them to become tame, but once the hamster is used to having hands around them they are fun little pets. While hamsters are not exactly great for cuddling, Syrian hamsters are larger so there is a bit more fur to pet, and they will not dart around as quickly as other hamsters.
The one thing about Syrian hamsters is they should be kept on their own. They do not interact well with other Syrian hamsters. Due to this, you will need to interact with them, although being gone for a few days is fine.
These fun hamsters are considerably smaller than Syrian hamsters. The gray coat helps the smaller hamsters stand out. The dwarf hamsters are faster, so they can be difficult to handle. It also takes some time to tame the hamsters, so if you want a hamster that can be held, dwarf hamsters will take time and may bite at first. If you're looking for a hamster to train a child with this might not be the best option, but if you want a hamster that will run on his or her wheel without the need for interactions, this is one such option.
Guinea pigs really are great first time pets. The animals are larger than hamsters so they are easy to pick up and hold. The guinea pigs are also tamer than many hamster breeds, so the animal is easier and often better with children. While it's still important to not dart quick hands around a guinea pig, these are fine first time pets.
There are a few breed options but most will act about the same. Plus, it can be fun for a child to pick out a guinea pig that has crazy hair, a funny hairstyle over their eyes, or has smooth hair. It is important to spend some time with guinea pigs, but they do not need constant human interaction. So outside of picking the pets up a few times a week and spending a little of time off and on, these are low maintenance pets. Of course, the big downside to guinea pigs over hamsters is you'll need a larger cage, which takes longer to clean.
Goldfish as Low Maintenance Pets
Fish are usually seen as low maintenance pets. Goldfish can be, although you need to be careful and know what you're looking for with regards to a goldfish. For many, a goldfish is their first pet. Goldfish don't require large tanks or an extensive setup. If you are considering more expensive fish but want to see if you take to it, buying a goldfish might be the answer.
Goldfish are also good pets to consider when working with children as while it may excite a child, they will not become as emotionally attached to a pet as one they can hold. So, when a goldfish dies, you can work through this first-time situation without the same emotional outbursts as a furry pet (not to say there won't be tears, as every child will react differently to a pet).
The one real downside to having a goldfish (or any fish for that matter) as low maintenance pets is it will need to be fed once a day or so. You can overfeed a goldfish as the fish will just continue to consume the food. It doesn't know if it has eaten too much, so it will just continue to eat until it basically eats itself to death. Because of this, if you decide to go with a goldfish you'll need to have someone come and feed the fish if you plan on being gone for longer periods of time.
Outside of feeding the fish you will need to clean the fish tank from time to time. If you have just one fish, this isn't all that time-consuming, but it's still something that needs to be done. There are simple fish tanks with filters that help to keep the tank clean. You can also consider an algae eater for the side of the tank which will help keep the tank clean.
When it comes to low maintenance pets, there are a number of options available. Really, it comes down to what you're looking for in a pet. If you're around the house a good amount and just want some kind of living animal inside of the house, then any of these pets could work for you. In other instances, you may want a pet that can survive a few days without you. In these instances, you'll need to focus on specific pets. Whatever it is you are looking for, there are plenty of low maintenance pets out there that will work perfectly for you and your need for a pet.
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