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Best Low Maintenance Pets

Reviewed by Vanessa Farner, DVM on June 30, 2021

All animals need a good living environment, a well-balanced diet, and love and care from their owners to ensure a happy and healthy life. But there are some animals that are easier to take care of. Small animals are often low maintenance, and may be the type of pet that will fit you and your family’s lifestyle best. 

Low maintenance pets may not take as much of your time and energy, but they can still be just as lovable and rewarding

Choosing a Low Maintenance Pet

Leopard gecko. Leopard geckos are easy and affordable to take care of. They’re tame creatures and easy to handle. They make a great pet for children and people with busy lifestyles. While they live in a climate-controlled aquarium, they eat a simple diet of live insects and mealworms. With the right care leopard geckos can live up to 20 years. 

Guinea pig. Guinea pigs are popular pets because they’re easy to care for and are gentle and affectionate. They’re cuddly creatures but don’t need as much attention as a dog. With the right care guinea pigs can live up to eight years. 

Hermit crab. Hermit crabs are low cost and low maintenance. They require a small living space and their habitat needs to be cleaned only three times a year. They live off of hermit crab food and water and can enjoy the occasional fruit (mango, papaya) and vegetable (spinach, carrots) as a treat.  

Hermit crabs are non-aggressive but can pinch if they feel threatened or stressed. They’re social and prefer to be around other hermit crabs, so you may want to consider getting more than one. With proper care, they can live up to 20 years or more. 

Fish. Most types of fish are cheap and need little maintenance. After buying a fish tank, food, and a few aquarium essentials, there’s little more to invest in when caring for a fish. The most low maintenance types of fish include goldfish and betta fish.

Your fish tank will need occasional cleaning, and you’ll want to make sure the water stays clear. Keeping the tank away from direct sunlight will help slow down algae growth. Depending on the size of your tank you may need a filtration system. 

African dwarf frogs. African dwarf frogs are easy to take care of and fun to watch. They will need a specific habitat, but they only need their tank cleaned once every three months and eat a diet of frozen bloodworms. They can live up to around five years.

Cats. All a cat needs is attention, food, water, and a litter box. The litter box will need to be cleaned weekly, depending on how much your cat uses it. Cats are cuddly animals, but their soft fur can shed on your clothes and furniture. 

If you’re looking for a companion that’s affectionate towards you but doesn't need to be taken out for daily exercise, a cat might be the right fit. They need slightly more maintenance than geckos, fish, and frogs, but are still easy to take care and fun to have around.

Lifestyle Considerations

Before purchasing a low maintenance pet, you'll want to think about things like:

Your commitment level. Even low maintenance pets need a certain level of time and commitment. Consider how much time you can give your future pet before bringing them into your home. Some low maintenance pets have a lifespan of over 20 years, so you’ll want to think about where you’ll be in that time period as well. 

How often you’re home. If you’re away from home frequently then you’ll want a pet that doesn’t need daily care. For example, you can set up automatic feeders for most of the low maintenance pets mentioned above if you plan on being away for longer than a few days.

Your current (and future) living situation. Think about everyone in your home and how comfortable they will be around your potential pet. You’ll also want to consider any pets you already have and how well they will respond to a new animal friend around the house.

Think about your future plans, too: If you start a family, will these pets be safe for your children

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Animal Humane Society of the United States: “Five things to consider when searching for your new pet.”

Aquarium Source: “African Dwarf Frog 101: “Care, Food, Tank Setup & Lifespan.”

Central Veterinary Associates: “Top Five Low Maintenance Pets.”

Pet Helpful: “10 Small, Low-Maintenance Pets That Are Easy to Take Care Of.”

RSPCA, “Leopard gecko.”

United Veterinary Center: “The Best Pocket Pets For Your Lifestyle.”

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