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Want a Pet But Can't Have a Dog?

By Joan McClusky
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 31, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Want a family pet, but can't have a dog? There are plenty of other great pet options.

A first choice for many families is a cat. As with dogs, there are different breeds and personalities as well as grooming needs, such as with long-haired cats.

Generally, a mellow cat is a good choice if you have young kids.

Since kittens are fragile, consider adopting an adult cat if you have a baby or toddler. Getting an adult cat lets you pick one with specific qualities that aren't evident in a kitten.

Gerbils and guinea pigs can make great pets for families with older kids. Since hamsters tend to nip, they're not a good choice if you have little ones.

If you're considering fish, cold-water fish like goldfish are the easiest to care for because they don't need a heated tank. But if you have the time and budget, tropical fish can be fascinating.

Birds make cheerful pets. The most popular bird pets are budgies. They're smart, love their families, and can often be taught to speak.

The playful ferret is a popular pet, but isn't legal in some areas, so check first.

Besides being a lot of fun, a pet teaches kids about caring, and from that they can learn about treating people with care, too.

Keep in mind that there are some kid-friendly rules that apply no matter what pet you choose, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Children under age 4 need to be supervised when with a pet. Children should be 10 or older before given care responsibilities for a large pet, such as a cat -- but you should still supervise them.

Be sure to explain that, like people, a pet needs food and water, exercise and love.

More information

To understand what care is involved with having a cat, check out tips from the ASPCA.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=727006

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Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
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