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What is the best first pet for my child?

One of the most common questions I'm asked in the pet trade is 'What would make a good first pet for my child? A fish, a mouse, a guinea pig? The simple answer is, there is no simple answer. Although some animals are generally considered easier to look after than others and parents often seek to buy a low maintenance, inexpensive pet for their child's first experience with an animal, the fact is that no matter how much you pay for their first pet, there are inevitably unforseen costs involved that many people don't think to consider. While it's true that some animals are easier to care for.... all animals, whether dog, parrot or fish require certain things to not only survive, but more importantly to thrive. While it's possible to throw a goldfish into a bowl and throw in a pinch of food each day or to buy a mouse and throw it in a cage and watch it run around it's little wheel, it's important to realise that even the 'simplest' pets need many things like food, shelter, bedding, toys, chews, treats and more. People are often surprised that they pay $5 for a pet mouse and $105 for everything it needs to live a long, happy, healthy life. This is an inescapable reality of pet ownership, and applies to all pets regardless of their 'cost' or perceived value. One can easily argue that a goldfish has as much right to quality of life as a labrador and my hope is that when making that first foray into the wonderful world of pet ownership, you fully consider that each animal deserves the very best of care and the due diligence to give it everything it needs to live as long and happy a life as possible. -Shane