The Joys of Small Pets

Feathered, furry, or finned, pets bring joy to our lives. But did you know that they’re also good for your health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), owning a pet can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride and feelings of loneliness. They can also increase opportunities for outdoor activity and socialization.

Cats and dogs make great pets, but they’re not for everyone. So how can you reap the benefits of pet ownership without a canine or feline companion? Consider a small pet. Although many small pets still require a substantial amount of time and dedication, they can be a great alternative for people with pet-related allergies and new pet owners.

Feathered pets can be brightly colored and fascinating additions to the family. Bird species such as canaries and finches can be kept in smaller cages, suitable for apartments or condominiums with limited space. Brining a bird into your home requires some planning, so make sure you’ve thought carefully about cage placement and the supplies you’ll need.

Do you have pet allergies? There’s no fur here, so a fish may be the perfect pet for you. Fish owners have also been known to experience calming effects like reduced stress. Make sure you learn about your new finned companion before you bring him or her home. Fish can require lots of maintenance and some don’t play well with others.

Mice and rats
These playful pets are very intelligent and can be trained to offer cuddly companionship. Just like cats or dogs, they regularly clean and groom themselves. They may look alike, but mice and rats require different care, so make sure to read up before you bring one home.

Guinea pigs
If you like being greeted by your pet when you arrive home, consider the guinea pig. When they’re excited, they let out a high pitched squeal or whistle. They also make a purring sound, just like cats. Make sure you to find a vet who’s comfortable caring for guinea pigs and don’t forget to learn about care requirements before bringing one home.

If you’re looking for a quiet pet, a rabbit might be right for you. While making little to no noise at all, these fluffy friends love to express their personalities. Just like dogs and cats, they get to know their owners and can be easily trained. There’s a lot to know before picking out your new fluffy companion, so make sure you have everything you need to care for your rabbit before your bring him or her home.

Turtles and tortoises
While many small pets live for only a few years, these shelled companions have an average lifespan of 80 years or longer. Some owners even include them in their will. Turtles and tortoises require very different care and living conditions. Bringing a turtle or tortoise into your family is a long-term commitment, so make sure you know what’s involved.

All pets, big or small, can bring joy into the lives of their humans. Making the choice to own a pet is a commitment for the life of that animal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before welcoming your small pet into your home, always read up on their behavior and needs.

Have you ever owned a small pet? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.