Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

If you're thinking about adding a pet (or pets) to your family, it's important to consider the kid-friendliness of any animal you bring into your home. (Photo by GlobalP/iStock via Getty Images)

New year, new furry family member? Pets are great! My wife and I adopted a second dog as a Christmas gift for ourselves and we couldn’t be happier. Even if she does like to chew on our shoes. The puppy, not my wife. If you’re also contemplating bringing a little (or big) addition into your home this holiday season, there are a few things you need to consider.

First, you need to understand that this is a real commitment for the life of the animal. No one should ever adopt a pet simply on a whim. Sure, their cute and cuddly, but they’re also living things that deserve to be treated well. Do you have the time, energy, financial resources, space, and willingness to give a pet all the love, care, and attention that it needs?

Second, if you have young children in the house, you need to think about whether or not the pet you’re considering adopting is kid-friendly. Fortunately, BabyCenter teamed up with veterinarian Dr. Carly Fox from Schwarzman Animal Medical Center in New York City to determine the best and worst family pets for most households. Let’s take a look at their findings!

Best & Worst Pets For Families With Young Kids

  • Best: Dogs & Cats

    There are many benefits for children who have a dog at home, including feelings of increased happiness, higher self-esteem, better cognitive skills, and even less stress. Dr. Fox recommends Labs, Poodles, King Charles, Havanese, and Pugs as good breeds for families with kids. If it’s a cat you want, Dr. Fox says that “any kind is fine, though Bengals, Savannah Cats, and Siamese cats tend to be a bit spicier as far as temperament goes.”

    Cat and dog sleeping together. Kitten and puppy taking nap.

    (Photo by FamVeld/iStock via Getty Images)

  • Worst: Birds

    Small birds like parakeets are amazing pets, but young children may not understand that they can’t pet small birds and must hold them gently. Birds also love to sing and squawk, which can get loud and disruptive depending on the bird. Plus, kids have to remember to keep windows and doors to outside closed if the bird is out, and it can be challenging to catch and put them in their cage when they fly the coop.

    Beautiful green parrot with toy on books indoors.

    (Photo by Liudmila Chernetska/iStock via Getty Images)

  • Best: Rats

    Surprised? Rats can be as smart and friendly as cats. They might even let you pick them up and even hang out on your shoulder. Rats enjoy having your attention and being pet, but they must be handled with care since they are small creatures that live short lives.

    Rat Olympics Held In Nebraska

    (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

  • Worst: Rabbits, Mice, Gerbils & Hamsters¬†

    While adorable, these little critters are also fragile, generally skittish around humans, and not that clean. Small, delicate rodents require a lot of maintenance and accessories. They also tend to be nocturnal and you probably want your kids to be able to sleep at night.

    A cute fluffy golden hamster with black eyes sits in a red overturned cup and looks at the camera.

    (Photo by Natalia Duryagina/iStock via Getty Images)

  • Best: Guinea Pigs

    These are the perfect alternative to rabbits, mice, and gerbils because they’re much friendlier. Guinea pig purring can be quite amusing to children, they can easily be picked up and held, and they can even be taught to do tricks.

    Cute, furry, fluffy black, brown, white spotty guinea pig sitting on gift box.

    (Photo by Tatsiana Volkava/iStock via Getty Images)

  • Worst: Ferrets

    While intelligent, ferrets are apt to bite and your small children may not understand or like that. Additionally, ferrets possess impressive escape skills and are quick to dash towards an open door. They can be a lot to handle.

    Angela Guglielmino walks a ferret on a leash at the San Francisco Zoo June 13, 2003 in San Francisco.

    (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Best: Fish

    They may not be cuddly, but fish are a great first pet for young kids. Fish are beautiful to watch and can teach children to be responsible pet owners since they need to be fed daily. Kids as young as three-years-old can sprinkle the food into the tank. However, adults should make sure the tank is kept clean to prevent germs and illnesses such as salmonella from developing.

    Cute boy looking on colorful aquarium fish in fish tank.

    (Photo by Yuliya Apanasenka/iStock via Getty Images)

  • Worst: Can You Guess?

    There’s one more category that BabyCenter listed as a “Worst” choice for families with young kids. I’ll give you a hint: most of these animals naturally carry salmonella, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children under age 5 avoid handling them. You can see the answer HERE.

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