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What is the best pet for first-time pet owners to have?

There comes a time in many parents' lives when they hear, 'Can we get a pet?'. And kids

often ask for every pet they can imagine – dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and even pigs!

But it's not always just kids who want pets. Many single people, couples and older people

look for pets to keep them company.

If you've never owned a pet, you may wonder what the best pet is for first-time pet owners.

With so many options, you have a few things to weigh up.

Let's explore how to choose the best pet for a first-time pet owner.

What is your situation as a first-time pet owner?

Choosing a pet as a first-time pet owner will come down to a few things. Here's what you

need to consider upfront:

  • Your age – is the pet for a child, a family, or an older person?

  • The lifespan of the pet – are you committed to looking after a pet for its entire lifespan?

  • Your space – what room do you have for a pet (e.g., a big/small backyard or house)?

  • Your time – how much time will you be able to give to your new pet?

  • Any allergies – does someone in your household react to pet hair which will make owning a furry pet hard?

  • Cleaning – are you willing to clean up poop or tanks or cages?

  • Cost – do you know the ongoing costs associated with your pet regarding feeding, medication, toys, bedding, vet bills and so on?

Once you've considered these factors, it's time to decide on a pet!

Here are the top 7 recommended pets for first-time pet owners

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are among the best first pets as they're small, cuddly and tend not to

bite. They are super friendly and enjoy daily attention and cuddles from their owners.

Cage: Escape-proof with paper or hardwood shaving for their bedding that requires

weekly cleaning.

Food: Specialty guinea pig food, fruits and veggies.

Lifespan: Up to 8 years.

Cost: Average $50 per month.

Blue tongue lizards

Blue tongue lizards are relatively low-maintenance pets that are cuddlier than you

may think. They are easy to handle and love getting out to be held by their owner.

Tank: A larger tank that requires a heat lamp (for temperature control between 24 to

35 degrees), a UV light, and a substrate as a base. They'll also need hiding rocks or

logs for climbing and food bowls. You'll need to clean their tank substrate every 2-4


Food: Specialty lizard food, live food (snails, insects, crickets), fruits and veggies.

Lifespan: Up to 20 years.

Cost: Initial set up may be around $700, but average $75 per month for food and tank

substrate changing.


Rats are sociable, very smart (they'll learn their name) and love to play with their

humans. Male rats are often lazier than females so perfect if you're looking for a lap

pet! Choose a rat over a mouse if you're looking for a rodent.

Cage: A large cage with a wood or paper substrate, lots of toys, cosy hammocks and

things to climb and hide in.

Food: Specialty rat food, fruit and veggies.

Lifespan: Up to 3 years.

Cost: Average $30 per month for food and cage substrate, but as rats are prone to

respiratory infections and tumours, you may have vet visits.

Budgies or Parakeets

If you're looking for a feathered friend, budgies or parakeets are the best for first-time

pet owners. They are low-maintenance, affectionate and trainable to do tricks (like

talking or mimicking sounds).

Cage: Big enough for them to live comfortably in and stretch their wings without

hitting the bars.

Food: Specialty bird food, fruit and veggies, rice and sprouted seeds.

Lifespan: Around 5 to 10 years.

Cost: Average $40 per month.

Siamese Fighting Fish or Goldfish

Siamese fighting fish are the most popular pet fish! They don't require much space,

so you can get away with a smaller tank. They are best kept by themselves, so

they're not fish you should mix with others.

Goldfish are low-maintenance and can live with other fish in the same temperature


Tank: Large enough for your chosen fish with a filter, heater (for Siamese fighting

fish), gravel, plants and hiding places. Regular cleaning is required (2 to 3 times per


Food: Siamese fighting fish eat live fish food like shrimp and speciality pellets.

Goldfish eat goldfish flakes, live or frozen shrimp and veggie mixes.

Lifespan: A Siamese fighting fish will live up to 5 years, with a Goldfish living 5-10


Cost: You'll have an initial tank set-up cost. On average, a Siamese fighting fish will

cost $25 to $50 per month, with a Goldfish costing $6 to $25 per month.


The one thing you'll find with cats is that they're independent. All they want is food, a

cosy bed, a litter box and attention from you (when they request it!). Check your local

laws, as most councils require your cat to be kept inside 24/7, so you may need to

build a cat run if you'd like them to venture outdoors.

Home: They will live with you in your home and take to their own cosy bed if trained.

All cats need a litter box, and it's recommended that you have 1 litter box per cat.

Food: A high-quality dry or wet cat food is recommended.

Lifespan: Most indoor cats will live 13 to 17 years.

Cost: Cats cost around $60+ per month depending on your food choice, litter,

medication (flea/worming) and possible vet visits.


There are so many dogs to choose from, so it's best to find reputable breeders and

research the dog breed before you make any decisions. Dogs require grooming,

feeding, walking, training and lots of attention. Puppies are best for older children

who can help with the training and care needed.

Home: Most dogs will happily share your home or yard and appreciate a cosy bed or

kennel to call their own. They also love toys and need stimulating things, especially if

you're not home.

Food: High-quality dry or wet dog food is recommended.

Lifespan: Dependant on the dog's breed, size and lifestyle (generally anywhere from

8 years and above).

Cost: This will depend on their breed and size (for what they eat), monthly

medications (worming & flea treatments) and possible vet visits.

What to do with your pets when you go away

Pets won't hold you back from going away on holidays or having a night off. Some pets can

care for themselves for a couple of days, and others need daily attention.

As a pet minder, I can visit your home, feed your pets, walk them and give them some

attention while you're not home.

Here's a list of all my services.

Using my new online booking form, you can book a pet minding service online, including dog

walking and pet sitting.

If we're meeting for the first time, please book a meet-and-greet session so I can meet your


Until next time, pat your fur babies for me!


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