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Kid-Friendly Pets on a Tight Budget

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A dog is man’s best friend, but the truth is that this pet can cost the average family home $1000 a year! Wait a minute, you say. What about cats? Unfortunately, cats can be quite expensive as well if you spoil it with tasty fish and chicken canned food beyond the usual kibble.

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For this reason, it is worth looking at a few alternatives for your kids. Cuddly, quirky, and ready to play, these critters offer budget-friendly alternatives that are sure to please!

Guinea Pigs

The guinea pig is actually a species of rodent native to South America. In some countries, people eat them! Yikes! In North America, guinea pigs have become a part of the family as cuddly companions with docile personalities.

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As low as $10 for initial purchase with food expenses around $5 a month, they are are great budget choice. Guinea pigs are friendly and enjoy being handled by children, but it is important to know that they actually enjoy want constant companionship. Animal organizations suggest keeping two together so they have a friend to hang out with while the kids are at school. Adorable!

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Ferrets

Ferrets are just so delightfully long and slinky, and it turns out that are surprisingly afford as well! Their food is around $10-15 a month, and children love to play with these frisky critters.

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Fun fact: Ferrets are actually related to skunks and can be stinky if they get scared! Luckily, they are commonly sold with the scent glands removed and it should not be a problem in practice. Perhaps because of this, they were not really popular until the 1980’s in America. But now, they are part of the family! Ferrets love to socialize, and it is recommended that you purchase a ferret friend for their active hours so they don’t get lonely.

Rabbits

Peter Rabbit and Little Bunny Foo Foo can be yours as affordable and fuzzy alternatives to cats and dogs. Originally bred for food and fur, rabbit fairs began to pop up in Europe in the 1800’s with new breeds varying in size and color.

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Today, they make great household companions that enjoy being handled and pet by kids. Food will only cost you $20 a month, and they are quiet and clean to keep inside if properly trained. They can learn to use a litter box like cats, which is recommended to avoid messes. Overall, a very manageable option worth considering!

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Chinchilla

Chinchillas are silky, rabbit sized animals that make great pets. People may not know that their day job is participating in studies on human hearing, since they are able to hear special tones and have similar ear and neuro-wiring to all of us.

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Super cool, but unfortunately they are also used for fur coats! Perhaps it is time to bring one home to be loved! Native to South America, these fuzzy and clean animals can live for 15-20 years like cats. Behaviorally, they enjoy being scratched more than being held, but it possible to bond with them and get them comfortable with cuddles. Food costs run at about $5 a month, and you can even make them occasional homemade treats with fruits already in your fridge to keep things exciting. But guess what? They really love flowers! Stubborn dandelions from the lawn finally have a purpose in your house you can be happy about. A win-win!

Hedgehogs

Sonic the video game character exists in real life! Hedgehogs are a quirky option that will run about $10 a month in terms of kibble, and you can supplement its omnivore diet with berries, fruits, and meat scraps you already have as leftovers. As pets, they are odorless and cuddly despite their spikes! Only when they are scared do they curl into a spiky ball. (It is recommended to avoid petting their head to avoid this reaction!)

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Hedgehogs are nocturnally active and enjoy running miles on their wheels or around the living room when they are in an energetic mood. It is very important to give them this opportunity, or they will get depressed and overweight. Exercise has benefits for our pets, too! Routine care involves brushing their tiny little teeth with cat toothpaste and occasionally cleaning their adorable feet.

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