Post a picture of your pet!

Silly questions that I don't know a better place to post:

My son (4yo) is becoming obsessed with hamsters, so I am thinking about getting him one for his birthday. I have never had a hamster, or any small rodent, so I have a few questions:

1) How much trouble am I getting myself into? I have no illusions that I will be this things primary care giver, but am I getting myself into a lot more work?

2) Should I get one or more than one? I want them to be happy, so are they more generally happy as individuals or in a group? And how do I make sure two hamsters don't become 20?

3) What do I need to buy with a hamster? What are vet bills like? How much is this going to cost me up front? Per week?

4) I have a cat that wouldn't eat a hamster, but would love to 'play' with it until it is 'sleeping.' How do I keep everyone alive?

5) Should I just get a Guinea Pig and say it is a big hamster? Honestly, they seem more cute, cuddly, and generally large enough to manage?

6) Or should I just do what I want and surprise everyone with a puppy?

I would urge you to not get a hamster. They’re nocturnal and make a ton of noise while you’re trying to sleep. Plus they’re biting little grumpy bastards. That’s probably the biggest problem with hamsters; super cute but not sociable to humans.

I’ve never had a guinea pig as a pet, but it’s my understanding that they’re much more tolerant of people. Also their poops happen to be fairly easy to clean up compared to hamsters. They love to be fed veggies and that’s always fun for kids.

I say get the puppy dog. The depth of social interactions that dogs and people can share is profoundly rewarding. Go to the pet finder website and create an account. You get to answer a questionnaire about what types of dogs you’re looking for and they send you regular emails with photos of dogs that are adoptable and fit your preferences. I’m always astounded to see how many poodle/jack Russell terrier mixes are adoptable and very close to my home.

I owned several rodents as a child, and they’re fun to watch for about five minutes. And as oldest of three brothers, I had cage cleaning duty. Had a Guinea Pig, which at least had some kind of personality. I did not have any trouble with mean hamsters or gerbils. Maybe the devil hamsters just didn’t like the way Rawk was looking at them.

Puppy: They’re more expensive than rodents but they’re also a lot more rewarding. Just make sure you know what you’re in for when choosing a breed or mix. Working breeds are a real handful. Some breeds tend to latch on to a single family member and are mean to everyone else. A medium sized dog will cost you $20-30 per month in just food and treats. Don’t cheap out on the food, or you’ll pay for it later in vet bills (I use Iams dry based on a vet recommendation, but I also periodically mix in other dry food for variety... dogs DO like variety).

If you get a young dog, you will want obedience training, which has a wide range of costs depending on the trainer. That starts at about $120 at PesSmart, to a whole lot more for an independent professional trainer. Veterinary care... I guess it depends on where you live. Regular vaccinations and wellness visits cost me about $75 per year, and I live in a low cost of living area. Routine illness or injury care can run into the hundreds, which is why you probably want pet insurance. Like any other insurance, it’s pretty expensive depending on the deductible. But it at least lets you manage out of pocket costs.

Rats could be a good alternative. They can be very social (if handled regularly...a bit bitey/feral if not). I used to have one of rats perch on my shoulder while I was at my work area in our home.

Edit: Going back to the fact that your kid is 4...yeah, go with the puppy.

Ollie (black and tan) and Billie playing tug part 1

Ollie (black and tan) and Billie playing tug part 2

Ollie and Billie throwing down 1

Ollie and Billie throwing down 2

Yeah cats and prey don't sound like a good mix.

I say have the kid choose another cat. Introduce them properly and they'll get along.

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

6) Or should I just do what I want and surprise everyone with a puppy?

If you go into it with the absolute, unshakeable commitment that this will be a lifetime member of the family, this is the answer. Having grown up with dogs, I don't think there's a substitute for children. There's no better companion for growing kids than a playful dog. If there's any possibility that the dog will be "given up" if it gets annoying, expensive, or difficult, then don't get the puppy.

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

And how do I make sure two hamsters don't become 20?

Don't get them wet.

Spoiler:

Also, don't get a male and a female.

I recently had similar thoughts about a pet for my soon-to-be 5 year old. Rats > Gerbils > Hamsters. Hamsters just don't make very good pets really.

https://www.parents.com/parenting/pe...

A dog will really be your pet, not your kid's (if that matters to you).

My dog totally thinks that he’s a sibling to my children. He thinks he’s the eldest brother and we reinforce that because it’s so damn charming. He treats my kids differently than he treat my wife and I. He totally takes care of them and dotes on them.

So, surprising absolutely no one, the foster fail is now official --we are keeping the Doggy Formerly Known as Nameless Puppy. We've named her Freya, and my wife took this awesome picture of her today:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/jr1wvXF.jpg)

Awwwww. Awwwww.

That, right there, is the Ur-pIcture of maximum dog comfort.

Mario_Alba wrote:

So, surprising absolutely no one, the foster fail is now official --we are keeping the Doggy Formerly Known as Nameless Puppy. We've named her Freya, and my wife took this awesome picture of her today:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/jr1wvXF.jpg)

That's a lot of snow leopards.

Here's one more from the "stuffed animals" series:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/kf15HYR.jpg)

A couple of videos and I'll stop for the day, I promise:

1. Freya chases her siblings, Fozzie and Hazel, and then neutralizes a supernatural threat. Someone has to keep the Alba household safe!

2. Freya and Duncan being cute:

Bitey

Mario_Alba wrote:

A couple of videos and I'll stop for the day, I promise:

1. Freya chases her siblings, Fozzie and Hazel, and then neutralizes a supernatural threat. Someone has to keep the Alba household safe!

2. Freya and Duncan being cute:

And I'm dead. Of a cute overload.

OMG!! I would never get anything done! It would be puppy vision live all day.

IMAGE(https://i.postimg.cc/0NBTMSzc/PXL-20210224-172847141.jpg)

Help, I think the sun melted my cat!

Haha. Very cute.

Nevin73 wrote:

IMAGE(https://i.postimg.cc/0NBTMSzc/PXL-20210224-172847141.jpg)

Help, I think the sun melted my cat!

MONORAIL!

Freya is growing by the day (and evolving too --she can now climb steps!), but she still has a lot of growing to do to catch up to Duncan.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/7yDeQYL.jpg)

Awe! You named her after a Goodjer.

IMAGE(https://scontent-atl3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/154480963_2849947668550733_5185792066767456041_o.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=3&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=1JCNYVUTPMEAX9moBHO&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-2.xx&oh=f33942e9b51f6005560c77027cd016e9&oe=605D9A1B)

Last known photo taken by imbiginjapan

RawkGWJ wrote:

Awe! You named her after a Goodjer.

It was a close thing, but my wife preferred "Freya" over "Coldstream" and "UpTolsomorphism." Go figure.

Talking about Freya, she's doubled her weight in the almost three weeks we've had her, and she's ten pounds now and looking more and more like a real dog instead of a stuffed animal:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/ObyaiA4.jpg)

Also, she fell asleep in one of Duncan's toy boxes a couple of nights ago:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/T8DRLrn.jpg)

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/ue2VpRq.jpg)

SOOOOO CUUUUUUTE

Also Freya is a great doggie name. My sister-in-law has a pup named Freya and she's a sweetie pie.

Hopefully this Freya will also be super sweet once she gets over biting everything and everyone, haha.

Mario_Alba wrote:
RawkGWJ wrote:

Awe! You named her after a Goodjer.

It was a close thing, but my wife preferred "Freya" over "Coldstream" and "UpTolsomorphism." Go figure.

Yeah, I'll need to have a word with your wife after I pet my adorable pugs Mario and Alba.