Choosing your child’s first pet

Choosing your child’s first pet

I’ve always had pets growing up. They quickly become an important part of the family and make fantastic playmates for little people. That said, it’s important to choose the right type of pet for your child. I remember my first pets, two gold fish called Goldie and Shadow, I watched them swim round their bowl for hours.

There are many things to consider, including the cost, the size of the pet (make sure you’re clued up on their size when fully grown) and how much time and care they will need.

I’d like the little man to grow up around animals but in reality while hubby and I work the hours we do it’s unlikely we’d be able to have a pet that needs a lot of time devoted to them, simply because we won’t have the time.

We’ve been weighing up the options of getting a little pet for the little man, nothing too big or energetic, something that lives safely in a tank that he can watch and as he gets older, can take responsibility for.


A tortoise and the initial set up of a vivarium and heat lamp is expensive. A tortoise has a huge life span and may out live it’s owner, which is great for a child who will become attached. Feeding and diet is not easy, they eat fresh fruit and veg and need a good amount of calcium in their diet.

A tortoise needs lots of space, particularly outdoors. If you’re going to have it in the garden during the summer months your garden needs to be safe and predator free.

Medical care for a tortoise can be hard to come by, not all Vet’s specialise in their care so you may need to seek a vet further afield.


The vivarium and heat mat you need for a gecko is slightly cheaper than the set up for a tortoise but is still expensive. The life span can live for around 20 years so like a tortoise, you’d need to consider your future plans.

Feeding would be a bit of a nightmare for me as Gecko’s need to be fed live insects every couple of days, certainly not something for the squeamish.

I really like gecko’s and they’re great to handle but probably not such a good idea for a little person who doesn’t know his own strength. I’d be terrified in case we ended up with a squashed gecko,


Goldfish and a basic tank set up can be really cheap. The life span of a fish is very short, but for the sake of a child, are very easy to replace with a look alike. Feeding and care is very simple, as long as they are regularly fed and their tank is kept clean your fish should be fit and healthy.

You can change the colour schemes in your tank to make it more exciting for the fish and more eye catching for those watching from outside. You can pick up a great selection of aquarium accessories from places like All Pond Solutions, ideal for inquisitive eyes to look at.

Having a gold fish or other cold water fish is a much easier task than a tortoise or gecko, particularly at this stage in our lives. The little man gets excited by a piece of paper at the moment, so I think a fish will suffice nicely for a year or too. I think it might actually be Daddy who wants the tortoise.

What was your child’s first pet?



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