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Best Low-Maintenance Pets For Families

If you’re considering adding a furry, feathery, or scaly friend to your life, but don’t have the time for a high-maintenance pet, worry not! There are plenty of low maintenance pets out there that can still bring joy to your home without requiring too much time and effort on your part. 

Pets can be an amazing addition to your life, providing companionship, unconditional love, and even some health benefits.

Low maintenance pets can provide all of these benefits while also fitting into your busy schedule. Not only do these animals typically require less attention and grooming, but they also tend to be more self-sufficient and generally easier to take care of. 

Whether you’re looking for a small mammal, a reptile, or even a fish, there are various options that can offer low-maintenance companionship.

Best low maintenance pets for families

From betta fish to garden snails, it’s possible to find a pet that matches your lifestyle and living situation. As you explore your options, consider each animal’s specific needs and requirements to ensure you can provide the best environment and care for your new friend. 

So go ahead first-time pet owners, and get ready to bring home a lovable, low maintenance pet that perfectly complements your life!

1. Betta fish

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are a great choice for a low-maintenance pet. They require a small fish tank, with a heater and water filter to keep their environment clean and warm.

You can feed them betta pellets, which are available at most pet stores. Betta fish are beautiful to watch and come in a variety of colors and fin shapes. 

2. Leopard gecko

Leopard geckos are easy to care for and perfect for beginner reptile enthusiasts. They need a simple tank setup with hiding places, a heat lamp, and a shallow water dish.

Feeding them consists of insects such as crickets and mealworms. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, so they are active during the evening and night hours. Learn more about leopard geckos here.

3. Corn snake

If you’re interested in snakes, corn snakes are an excellent low-maintenance option and just may be the most low maintenance pet on this list. They need a secure enclosure with a heating pad and hiding spots. Feeding them is easy, as they eat frozen and thawed mice every week or two. Corn snakes are known to be docile and easy to handle, making them a popular choice for beginners and (older) kids.

4. Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are quickly becoming the pet of choice for those looking for something cute, cuddly and easy to care for! These little critters are friendly and playful, yet quiet, so if you’re looking for a pet that won’t keep you up all night, you should definitely consider adopting a hedgehog!

Just make sure to check if it’s legal in your area first. And don’t forget that the smaller they are, the more prickly their spines are, so you may want to invest in some gloves.

Oh, and one thing to note – hedgehogs are nocturnal, so they often sleep during the day. And, of course, they poop all over their cage and wheel, so be prepared to clean their cage once a week and give them a sink bath weekly.

5. Hamster

Hamsters are small, adorable, and low-maintenance pets. They require a properly sized cage, bedding, and an exercise wheel. You can feed them a diet of commercial hamster food, along with some fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Hamsters need a lot of exercise, are active at night, and enjoy running on their hamster wheel or exploring their environment.

They’re good starter pets for kids.

6. Hermit crab

Hermit crabs are unique and low-maintenance pets. They need a tank with a sand substrate, hiding spots, and a dish for saltwater and freshwater.

Hermit crabs eat a diet of commercially available hermit crab food, as well as fruits and vegetables. They are fascinating to watch as they change shells and explore their environment.

7. Chinchillas

When it comes to maintenance, chinchillas are just like any other pet – they need food and a good clean once in a while! But don’t worry, looking after a chinchilla is a piece of cake.

Not only are they super cute and cuddly, but they make for the best of companions. Sure, they might be tiny, but they sure know how to make up for it with their big, fluffy hugs!

8. Guinea pig

Guinea pigs are low-maintenance pets that are larger than hamsters but still relatively easy to care for, and they make great companions. They need a spacious and clean cage, bedding, and hiding spots.

Guinea pigs eat a diet consisting of commercial guinea pig food, hay, leafy greens, and fresh vegetables. They are social animals and need to have at least two – they don’t do well solo. Guinea pigs enjoy interacting with their owners but they can be shy and skittish.

9. African dwarf frogs

African dwarf frogs are aquatic animals that require an aquarium with a heater and a filter. They’re social, so you need to have at least 2 together in a tank.

They eat a diet of frozen or freeze-dried foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp. These frogs are small and fun to watch as they swim and interact with their tank mates!

We had a couple for a couple of years when my kids were really little, and my kids loved feeding them and watching them swim around!

10. Parakeets

Parakeets are small birds that make great low-maintenance pets. They need a large cage, perches, and toys to keep them entertained.

You can feed them a diet of commercial parakeet food and fresh vegetables. Parakeets are social animals and can be trained to talk or mimic sounds.

11. Sea monkeys

Sea monkeys, also known as brine shrimp, are tiny aquatic creatures that are easy to care for. They require a simple aquarium setup and can be fed with specialized sea monkey food. 

12. Green anole

Green anoles are active, small lizards that make great low-maintenance pets. They need a well-ventilated enclosure with plant life, hiding spots, and a heat lamp.

Feeding them consists of insects such as crickets and fruit flies. Green anoles are interesting to watch as they change color and explore their environment.

13. Ferrets

Ferrets are bursting with energy and love, and they can even live up to a decade! They love to play, so you’ll have a blast when you get one as a pet.

Just remember that you can’t leave them in their cage for too long – these little critters are quite mischievous. But, if you get close to them, they’ll love you like one of their own and shower you with cuddles and hugs. It’s also a good idea to keep them in pairs, as solitary ferrets may not be as social.

Lastly, if you don’t have other animals or young children, ferrets can be loyal, affectionate, and loving – just don’t forget that they can bite if startled!

14. Teacup pot-bellied pigs

It might seem a bit odd to think of snuggling up with a pig, after all, they don’t have the best reputation for being clean and tidy. But pot-bellied pigs are different! They LOVE and crave affection and attention and are so affectionate that some might even consider them high maintenance!

There are a few types of pot-bellied pigs, and the Teacup Pot Bellied pig is one of the smaller ones, usually growing to be between 35-45 lbs and 14 1/2 inches tall. So if you’re looking for a cuddle buddy who’s not too big, the Teacup Pot Bellied pig might be the perfect fit!

15. Bearded dragon

You may think cuddling with a dragon is a bit crazy, but trust me – these lizards make fantastic pets! They are known for their calm and gentle natures, and they become even sweeter as they age. And the best part? Unlike snakes, they actually enjoy interacting with people – from getting their heads scratched to being held.

Plus, their diet is a breeze – no need for live or frozen mice here, just a plant-based diet with a few bugs thrown in for good measure. And if you’re still not convinced, dragons can live up to 20 years and grow up to 16-24 inches – that’s a lot of cuddles!

Low maintenance pet care and requirements

All great pets require some care and attention, even if it’s just a water bottle and food bowls. Here’s what you need to keep in mind regarding these easy pets.


When choosing a low-maintenance pet, you’ll want to make sure their habitat is suitable for them. For many small pets, a simple and adequately-sized terrarium or aquarium is ideal. For example, when setting up a habitat for a green anole, ensure that you’re providing the proper heating, lighting, and humidity.

If you have a furry friend, even if you live in a small apartment, you can make sure to give those little guys enough attention, along with a few cuddles.


Providing a balanced diet is essential for your low-maintenance pet’s health. Pets like hamsters love food such as small pieces of fruits and veggies, along with their regular hamster food. In cases like crested geckos, remember to sprinkle calcium supplements on their food. Keep in mind that some pets, like snakes, may require feeding live insects, or frozen or live mice. 

Make you’re comfortable with their dietary needs before committing to a specific pet.

Activity Level

Each type of pet will have different activity levels and energy needs. It’s important to choose a pet that suits your lifestyle and preferences. Low-maintenance pets, like many reptiles and small mammals, often have calm and docile temperaments. However, some of these gentle companions still need toys and exercise to keep them active and healthy. For instance, hamsters will benefit from having a wheel for exercising and playing.

Temperature and Humidity

Maintaining the proper temperature and humidity levels is crucial to keep your low-maintenance pet comfortable and healthy. Bearded dragons or crested geckos will require specific temperature and humidity-controlled environments, as mentioned earlier.

Ensure you research your chosen pet’s environmental requirements thoroughly to set up the perfect habitat. It’s also essential to monitor these conditions regularly and make adjustments as needed.

By understanding your pet’s specific care requirements, you’ll be able to provide a loving home for any low-maintenance companion you choose to welcome into your life.

Choosing the right low maintenance pet for your lifestyle

Just because all the animals on this list are great low maintenance pets for families that have a busy lifestyle, that doesn’t mean that every pet on this list is a good fit for YOU. Here are a few things to consider as you make the best choice for the perfect companion for your family.

Consider space requirements

Before selecting a low-maintenance pet, it’s essential to evaluate your living situation and the space available. Smaller pets like leopard geckos and betta fish are perfect for apartment dwellers, as they require minimal space to thrive.

On the other hand, if you have a larger home, you may want to consider a low-maintenance dog breed, such as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Factor in Allergies and Sensitivities

Keeping your family members’ allergies and sensitivities in mind is crucial when choosing a low-maintenance pet. For those with fur or dander allergies, you might want to avoid furry pets and opt for a reptile, fish, or even a hermit crab.

Evaluate Your Time Commitment

Consider how much time you can dedicate to your pet’s upkeep so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Some low-maintenance pets, like guinea pigs, require less attention than dogs while still being affectionate and interactive.

Other times, pets like leopard geckos demand minimal interaction but may still need regular care. Choose a pet that won’t tax your time and energy more than you’re able to give.

Account for family members and other pets

Lastly, take into account your family members and any pets you already have. Opt for low-maintenance pets that are safe for kids and can coexist peacefully with other animals.

For example, guinea pigs can be a great option for families with children because of their gentle nature, and they can often live up to eight years with proper care.

By considering space requirements, allergies, time commitment, and family members, you can select the perfect low-maintenance pet to suit your lifestyle.

Ideal Low Maintenance Pets for Kids

As a parent, you may be looking for kid-friendly pets that are easy to care for so that you can teach your kids responsibility through pet ownership. Here’s a list of low maintenance pets that can be perfect for kids and won’t require too much extra work from you.

Parakeets (Budgies): Parakeets are a great starter pet for kids aged 7 and above. They’re low-maintenance, not too messy, and don’t take up much space. Your child can actively engage in their bird’s care, learning how to be gentle with pets and fostering a sense of responsibility.

Tortoises: Tortoises are quiet, cute, and generally easy to clean up after, making them another excellent choice for kids. The main thing to consider is their diet, which needs a large variety of food and roughage to keep them healthy.

Sea Monkeys: If your child is fascinated by aquatic creatures, Sea Monkeys could be a fun and low-maintenance option. They live in a small aquarium, where your child can watch them move around and feed them once a week or so. Plus, their short lifespan of up to two years can be ideal if your kids might lose interest in pet care over time.

Cats: While they might require a little more responsibility than other pets on this list, cats can still be low-maintenance and cuddly companions for your kids. They groom themselves, don’t need to be walked, and usually don’t require constant attention. To choose the right cat for your family, consider adopting a low-energy or older cat, which may be more patient with children.

Turtles: Another great low maintenance pet is a turtle. Their needs are usually simple, and their size is perfect for children to handle. Just ensure you research proper care for the specific turtle species you’re considering, and keep in mind that some turtles can have long lifespans.

With these options in mind, you can find the perfect low-maintenance pet to bring joy and companionship to your kids while making sure it’s manageable for the whole family.

Low maintenance dogs and cats

If you want a furry addition to your family, check out these dog and cat breeds!

Easiest dog breeds to maintain

If you’re looking for an easygoing and easy-to-train dog to take on family hikes or outings, consider adding a Pug to your life. Pugs are not only affectionate companions but also adapt well to apartment living. They do not require excessive exercise, making them a low-energy option for those with a more laid-back lifestyle. Just be mindful of their potential health issues related to their flat faces, and make sure to provide regular veterinary care.

Another great choice for a low-maintenance dog is the Basset Hound. Known for their droopy ears and soulful eyes, Basset Hounds are gentle and easygoing pets. They do need regular walks to prevent obesity, but they’re not as energetic as other breeds. Plus, their short coat requires minimal grooming.

And surprisingly, high-energy collies are incredibly low maintenance pets as long as they have somewhere they can run out their energy. They’re working dogs, so as long as you enable them to work, they’ll repay you with amazing cuddles.

Who can forget golden retrievers? Arguably the sweetest family-favorite dog breed, these beautiful dogs are friendly, low-key, and up for joining in on any adventure!

Best Low-Maintenance Cats

When it comes to feline friends, the British Shorthair cat stands out as a low-maintenance option. They’re known for their easygoing nature and plush, short coats that require minimal grooming. British Shorthairs are relatively independent yet still enjoy spending time and bonding with their human companions.

Some other low-maintenance cat breeds include:

  • Russian Blue: Known for their beautiful blue-gray coats and bright green eyes, Russian Blues are intelligent, affectionate, and easy to care for. They have a moderate energy level and require minimal grooming.
  • Siamese: This recognizable breed is social, intelligent, and easy to train. Siamese cats do well in apartments and generally require less grooming than longer-haired breeds.
  • Burmese: These friendly and social cats are playful and energetic, but not overly demanding of your time. Their short coats make grooming easy, and they adapt well to various living environments.

Remember, the key to finding the right low-maintenance pet is to make sure you can meet their specific needs while also enjoying the unique qualities low-maintenance animals bring to your life. Happy pet parenting!

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Best Low-Maintenance Pets For Families


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