A pet can be both a source of joy and a wonderful companion with which to share your retirement years. Yet, as we get older, the demands of a larger, energetic pet may be too difficult and restrictive, making a low-maintenance pet much more appealing. Here are some examples of easy to care for pets that can be equally rewarding.
Most types of freshwater fish are inexpensive to buy and maintain after the initial investment of a tank and aquarium supplies. However, some fish require more care than others. To begin with, buy an inexpensive, durable fish, such as goldfish. If that's manageable and you want to move it up a notch, try an aquarium. Maintenance generally involves simply feeding once or twice a day, and cleaning the fishbowl regularly (dependent on if you have a filtering system). However, some fish can require more attention so make sure you ask before you buy.
2. Guinea pigs
The guinea pig is a popular pet due to its minimal care requirements and social nature. They are happy to interact with their owners or to relax alone in their habitats. In return for providing a clean environment, a healthy diet, and some love and attention, they will be a joy to have in your home. Unlike other rodents, guinea pigs are not nocturnal, preferring to nap regularly so they are usually available to play when you are. Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs don’t require an exercise wheel that will squeak through the night so it may be a better option for a light sleeper!
Dogs are lovely companions to have, but like children, they can sometimes be tiring to look after. As a low-maintenance dog breed, you can’t do much better than pugs. As well as being small and oddly cute (their faces slightly resemble humans), they are incredibly loyal and affectionate, providing most of the characteristics of a dog in a smaller, easy-to-maintain package. Less prone to barking or chewing, pugs do need a fair amount of exercise, but their easy-going nature makes them one of the easiest pets to own.
4. Small Birds
Small birds can be low-maintenance depending on the type you choose and how much human interaction they require. Birds such as finches and canaries, generally do not require or even enjoy contact with humans, so they simply require the correct diet and an appropriately sized cage. Other small birds, such as cockatiels and parakeets, need time outside the cage to play and socialise. Those considering getting a bird should also be aware that cages may be time consuming and difficult to clean, so require dedication!
Famous for their slow, leisurely nature, turtles can also be very low-maintenance if you pick the right species. The water slider turtle for example, is small, can be kept indoors, and has a fairly easy diet plan to follow. Turtles may have a reputation for being slower and less active than other pets, but their unique, majestic personalities and beautiful shell patterns make them a lot of fun to look at and spend time with.
While these pets are relatively low maintenance, remember that you’re making a commitment to care for a living creature. Ensure that the needs of your new pet fit in with your lifestyle and that you take some time to research its full care needs and requirements. For information on care requirements, take a look at the pet care leaflets provided by the Blue Cross.