Best Small Pet for Child with Anxiety (15+ List)

In this blog, we are going to talk about some of the best small pets for kids with anxiety. While some are common animals found everywhere, others are special exotic ones. Having these tiny creatures as a pet can help kids with many psychological issues like anxiety, ADHD, and autism.

What is the Best Small Pet for a Child with Anxiety?

If your child is struggling with anxiety, get one of these cuties home for them to have as a pet:

  • Gerbil
  • Chinchilla
  • Guinea Pig
  • Mouse
  • Rabbit
  • Chick
  • Hamster
  • Fish
  • Parrot
  • Hermit Crab
  • Canary
  • Tortoise
  • Chameleon
  • Ferret
  • Squirrel
  • Chihuahua

Little Pets for Anxious Kids

Small pets are often called pocket pets because they take up very little space and are low maintenance as compared to conventional pets. These pets can be highly useful in counselling settings for kids dealing with behavioural problems or anxiety. 

Numerous studies have shown the beneficial impact of interacting with pets on the psyche of children. Scientific investigations have revealed that petting animals can reduce state anxiety levels. 

Since small pets are easier to take care of, it’s a good idea to keep one if your kid is struggling. Here are some animals you can bring home for your anxious child:

Gerbil

If you are looking for a small pet for your child, gerbils are a great option. They’re fine for kids who don’t want to be that involved. It’s easy to feed gerbils because they have a standard diet similar to that of rats and hamsters. Gerbils are great for kids with anxiety as they are not usually aggressive. But keep in mind, they can also be very fast, so it won’t be easy to hold them for long.

Chinchilla

Pets have many physical and mental health benefits that accompany the pleasure of snuggling up to a cute friend. Small pets like Chinchillas are the perfect companion for anxious children. 

Chinchillas are a gentle option for kids who tend to be nervous and fidgety all the time. They need a diet of chinchilla pellets and hay, with vegetables as a treat. With a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years, chinchillas tend to live much longer than many small animals.

Guinea Pig

Pets bring joy to people. They add unconditional love to your life. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. A pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Guinea pigs make for a great furry friend. 

These rodents are gentle and have a sweet disposition, which makes them less likely to bite. This makes them a great companion to children with anxiety. Plus, guinea pigs can be sociable, which means they won’t mind being handled.

Mouse

Childhood mental illness is a significant public health concern. Early intervention and prevention can help prevent many mental health concerns, like anxiety. One way to alleviate childhood anxiety is to get a pet. 

Mice make great companions for children. Mice are very intelligent and don’t take up much space. Kids like to watch them run on wheels, hold treats in their hands, and explore their habitats. They are quiet pets.

Rabbit

Having a furry friend can boost your child’s confidence. Research has shown that even people who say they don’t like animals feel an anxiety reduction when petting an animal. Another study showed that children who read to their dogs show a reduction in anxiety. 

While dogs may not suit every child, rabbits are a great alternative. Rabbits make good housemates and some can even be toilet trained. Rabbits are good for younger kids because they usually have a very gentle and sociable nature.

Chick

Who doesn’t like seeing little yellow fluff balls walking around the house. Chicks make amazing pets for children. They are sweet and loving. They need a lot of maintenance for the first couple of months. This will teach children how to care for another living being and responsibility. 

Plus, pets offer comfort and companionship to kids. No matter what mood they are in, children find support and security from their animal companion. This often means they are less anxious or withdrawn.

Hamster

Your child wants a pet, but you’re unsure if you’re ready to commit? Hamsters would be an excellent option for you. This classic small pet is easy to care for and can even be trained to use the litter. 

Hamsters can be rather nippy, and small breeds can be quite aggressive. So it’s recommended to get a larger breed that will be more likely to adapt to being handled. Pets can stimulate conversation, creating an ice-breaking effect that alleviates social anxiety. Hence they are the perfect addition to your family.

Fish

Watching a tank of colourful fish can help increase visual focus. Science has shown that aquariums can even encourage people to eat healthier. It can also help reduce muscle tension and lower your pulse rate. 

Unlike parents or teachers, pets are never critical and don’t give orders. They are always loving and their mere presence at home can help provide a sense of security in children. Having an ever-present pet can help ease separation anxiety in children when mom and dad aren’t around.

Parrot

Most children are fascinated by the talking capabilities of parrots. They might even ask you to get them a parrot. But there are a couple of things to consider before getting a parrot. Parrots can be dangerous. 

Even very tame parrots can seriously injure people with their beaks and claws, even if they don’t mean to. Apart from that, parrots can be expensive. Nevertheless, having the companionship of a pet can make a child feel important and help them develop a positive self-image.

Hermit Crab

Pets have been shown to help people reduce their anxiety and stress. Having a pet is fun for kids. Hermit crabs can be excellent pets for children. They are not aggressive and are disease-free. 

They are hypo-allergenic, meaning they’re a safe pet for children with allergies. They have a long lifespan, so hermit crabs can grow with your child. Last but not the least, they have a small appetite, which means very low food and supplement costs.

Canary

Welcoming a family pet into your home is extremely beneficial for numerous reasons. They encourage playtime and create a sense of anxiety-reducing calm. Family pets provide a way to overcome loneliness. 

A bird makes for a great pet and adds its song to your home. Canaries require minimal interaction and are easy to care for. They are the perfect pet for someone in a quiet setting who would like a small feathered friend as a companion.

Tortoise

Pets form a great companionship with children. Most animals provide comfort and a strong sense of responsibility. If your child wants a pet, small tortoises are a great option to consider since they don’t take up much space. 

Tortoises are especially great at reducing anxiety in kids. Plus, kids who are emotionally attached to their pets are better able to build relationships with other people. It can be a source of calmness and relaxation, as well as a source of stimulation for the brain and body.

Chameleon

Children find chameleons fascinating, what with their long tongues and living and eating habits. But keeping chameleons as a pet can prove to be quite expensive for you. You’ll have to get a terrarium, which might cost a lot depending on its size and design. 

You will also have to buy UVB fluorescent bulbs, a dripper and a thermometer for checking the temperature in the tank. However, getting a chameleon for your child can teach them many values, like responsibility and companionship. Pets can also help with anxiety.

Ferret

Having a pet is fun. Owning an animal brings enjoyment to any household. Pets are proven to reduce anxiety in human beings. With that being said, ferrets are a great option for children. Petting a ferret is extremely calming for those with anxiety. 

One thing to remember here: most ferrets will benefit from having the company of another ferret. Ferrets can potentially live up to 10 years but the average lifespan is around 6 years.

Squirrel

Squirrels live in the backyard and neighbourhoods. Caring for a squirrel as a pet can be a bit hard as they are wild animals. A lot of care is needed for a couple of months to keep a squirrel as a pet. 

However, pets bring joy and happiness to kids. So having a pet in your house can prove quite beneficial for your child. Children find support and security from their animal companion, which often means they are less anxious or withdrawn.

Chihuahua

Pets can stimulate conversation, creating an ice-breaking effect that alleviates social anxiety. Dogs also tend to follow human communicative cues, which could help in emotional development. Children aged 7-8 years have previously ranked pets higher than humans as providers of comfort and self-esteem and as confidants. 

Chihuahuas are fun-loving pets that are energetic, loving, loyal, and they make great watchdogs. Tasks such as walking the dog teach children to be responsible, as well as giving them a sense of achievement.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion

In this blog, we talked about some of the best small pets for kids with anxiety. While some were common animals found everywhere, others were special exotic ones. Having these tiny creatures as a pet can help kids with many psychological issues like anxiety, depression, and autism.

The small pets described here were Gerbil, Chinchilla, Guinea Pig, Mouse, Rabbit, Chick, Hamster, Fish, Parrot, Hermit Crab, Canary, Tortoise, Chameleon, Ferret, Squirrel, Chihuahua.

FAQs (Best Small Pet for Child with Anxiety)

Would a dog help with anxiety?

Pets can help reduce anxiety and dogs are a good match for many people dealing with an anxiety disorder. A dog can encourage play and activity so you end up producing more endorphins. This is also good for physical health. Having a dog around makes you feel less lonely and more secure.

What is the easiest pet to take care of for a kid?

In general, small pets are the easiest to take care of. They don’t take up much space, their needs are pretty basic, and they’re quite cute to look at. Some examples are hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and mice.

What is the most low maintenance dog?

Here are some of the most low-maintenance dog breeds:

  • Pugs
  • French Bulldog
  • Greyhound
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Basset Hound

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