So I never thought I’d write a blog about the top five pets for kids, but as our 15-year-old practice baby — otherwise known as a fur baby — is not long for the big kennel in the sky, I’ve made the tough decision to never own a dog again.

OK, it was not so tough. When my fur baby decided that my daughter’s waste was a fine dining experience, it was something I could never un-see. And the thought of Libby-dog’s loving doggy licks ON MY KID’S FACE made me want to drink disinfectant, because I kiss my daughter a lot. It seems my dog and I have much in common; we love to slobber her face as much as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m terribly sad to not want or have another dog. When our infertility was at its height, it was Libby-dog I dressed in a glittery tutu and toted to the shops to fill the gaping hole in my heart, and maybe once or twice sobbed into her newly washed soft fur. I owe her so much, I love her so much, she has been a joy. But times change and Gerard and I have decided we  won’t be like Hugh Hefner and replace her with a replica when she is gone.

Still, I recognise for a little person, a pet teaches them a lot about responsibility. You have to feed your pet, make sure they have fresh water and bathe them. And I can’t deny it really is cute watching the love between a child and their dog. I’ve just decided she can enjoy that love when she moves out of my house.

So what other pets are out there that won’t eat my daughters poo?

That’s a sentence you never thought you’d read… but here goes.

Hermit crabs

I know what you’re thinking. I don’t want crabs! You, me and and the backpackers, but I’m told these little guys make a great pet for inquisitive kids and they won’t take up hours of your time.

Hermit crabs are about as low-maintenance as a pet can get. They’re odour free, clean themselves and most pet stores will sell these them for around $15 each. All you need to set up your hermit crab is a glass aquarium. An exciting part of owning a hermit crab is providing him with a new shell to “move” into when he outgrows his current one — keep an eye out for colourful shells at your pet store, Millie was entertained for minutes…

Guinea pigs

Many people who move to Queensland don’t realise that pet rabbits are illegal and anyone that brings a rabbit into the state can be fined up to $40,000! But there’s another little furry substitute — the Guinea pig! They’re one of the best pets for younger kids with their friendly personalities, and they love cuddles. Just make sure little hands don’t squeeze them too tight.

Most pet stores will sell a cage for your Guinea pig to live in and they can cost as little as $100.

Canaries

Birds are a great starting point for kids who are learning to care for a pet of their own, but many birds can be loud and have a tendency to bite little fingers. The canary is a great little guy who can be kept by himself and will even sing the occasional song. Canaries don’t need time out of their cage and all you need to do is make sure they have food and water!

Chickens

Chickens are the pets that keep on giving — who doesn’t love fresh eggs for breakfast!

When you’re looking at chickens as pets you have to consider a few things, like what breed to get — do you want cute and cuddly? Do you want an egg layer? Do you have a cat or dog that might hassle the little guys?

One of the great perks for kids is that it’s advised you gently handle your young chickens as much as possible to get them used to being in your company, and we all know the kids will love playing with these little fluffy babies.

You have to make sure you provide your chickens shelter and a run which the kids can help build, and they love to have a roam around the yard as well — something the kids can be in charge of.

The axolotl

How cool will your kids feel owning an axolotl, or a ‘Mexican walking fish’! These guys aren’t a very common pet, but they are very unique. They live in an aquarium BUT they’re not a fish — they have four legs and a tail.

A great aspect of having an axolotl is that these guys are carnivorous, so you can send the kids on the hunt for their pet’s food – worms or crickets that can be found in your own garden. They’re quite low maintenance and require a clean tank and regular feeding.

The best bit about all of the above — I’m pretty sure I won’t catch any of the above munching on anything Millie produced, and that’s got to be worth wagging your tail about.