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best pet for kids by age

What is the best pet for kids? The answer is simple: The best pet for a child is one she can help care for herself. 

You might also want to consider your child's patience and expected payback from her new pet, so you can gauge the reality of her expectations.

Consider these guidelines for choosing the best pet for kids.

best pets for kids under age 3:

None. Kids under 3 years aren't old enough to take care of a pet, or handle a pet safely without parental supervision.

ages 3 to 5:

This is a good age for pets that are confined to a cage, that kids can enjoy watching, and that parents control when it comes out of the cage. Good pets here include guinea pigs and hamsters.

ages 6 to 9:

School age kids can adequately care for - with help from parents - mice, rats, fish.

ages 10 to 13:

These tweens are morphing into little teenagers, who can handle the responsibility of feeding, exercising, and cleaning up after dogs, cats, and rabbits.

ages 14 to 17:

This is the time to allow teenagers to have a pet bird or fish aquarium. Because you're there to ensure these more care-intensive pets get the care and feeding they require, it can prove to be a great learning experience for everyone.

Once you've matched a child by age with the right animal, these 9 Pet Safety Tips for Kids can help ensure everyone in your home stays safe under the new arrangement.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the supplies, toys, habitat and more for your family's pet.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.