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What Are Some Low Maintenance Pets?

By Phil Shepley
Updated May 21, 2024
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Not everyone has the time, energy, or resources to take care of a pet, such as a dog, that often requires a lot of maintenance. For those who would still like animal companionship, but with fewer of the hassles associated with pet ownership, there are many options available for low maintenance pets. This may be important for people who are not at home enough to take care of an animal, or who simply do not have the patience to deal with a needier pet, but would still like to reap some of the rewards associated with owning a pet. Cats are often considered to be relatively low maintenance, but they still require a lot of care compared to other animals, and some breeds need much more care for than others. In addition, a cat can ways to cause trouble and make messes, and cannot feed itself or change its own litter box.

There are plenty of other animals that can be left alone for days or even weeks with little or no care, and the rewards of owning such pets can vary from simply being aesthetically pleasing to actually still having a pet to love and care for. Low maintenance pets, in most cases, will still require daily and weekly work and care. Fish are a good example of this, and typically, but not always, they will need to be fed daily and have their tank cleaned once a week. Fish are also one of the most decorative pets to have in the house, and an aquarium can usually enhance the looks of any space.

There are other pets that live in aquariums and don't require much maintenance, but they are often not as pleasing to the eye because the tank need to be filled with things like sand or newspaper for their survival. These easy pets include snakes, turtles, lizards, spiders, and even bugs. Their downside is that they are less likely to be interactive and “cuddly,” especially in the case of bugs like the hissing cockroach. This is actually a popular pet despite its appearance and unique sound.

For people who want pets that are friendlier but may require a little more care, there are other options for low maintenance pets. Birds can fit into this category, although some types require more care than others. For instance, a canary might only need to be fed daily and have its cage cleaned weekly, while a more exotic parrot might need to be cleaned daily and fed more often. Other pets that require a similar amount of care to that of birds while offering more human interaction include rabbits, ferrets, and rodents such as mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs.

Of course, someone looking for a pet that requires little or no care at all should consider a pet rock — the lowest of low maintenance pets.

If you're looking for remote care for your pet, consider Pettable

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies a pet as low maintenance?

A low maintenance pet typically requires minimal grooming, feeding, and attention compared to more demanding animals. They often thrive in smaller living spaces and do not need daily walks or constant social interaction. These pets are ideal for individuals with busy lifestyles or limited physical capabilities.

Can low maintenance pets still provide companionship?

Absolutely! Many low maintenance pets, such as cats, certain dog breeds, and small mammals like guinea pigs, can offer affection and companionship. While they may not require as much attention as other pets, they can still form strong bonds with their owners and be a source of comfort and joy.

What are some examples of low maintenance pets?

Examples of low maintenance pets include betta fish, which need only a small tank and infrequent feedings, and house cats, particularly those with short hair that require less grooming. Small rodents like hamsters and gerbils are also low maintenance, needing only a clean cage and fresh food and water.

How much time should I expect to spend on a low maintenance pet daily?

The time commitment for a low maintenance pet can vary, but typically it ranges from 5 to 30 minutes per day. This includes feeding, cleaning habitats, and some interaction. For example, a betta fish might need just a few minutes, while a cat could require up to half an hour of care and playtime.

Are low maintenance pets suitable for children?

Many low maintenance pets are suitable for children, as they can teach responsibility without overwhelming them. Pets like guinea pigs and certain breeds of rabbits are gentle and can be handled by children, under supervision. However, it's important to ensure the child understands how to care for the pet properly.

What should I consider before getting a low maintenance pet?

Before acquiring a low maintenance pet, consider your lifestyle, budget, and long-term commitment. Even low maintenance pets require consistent care, and some, like turtles, can live for decades. Research the specific needs of the pet you're interested in to ensure you can meet them for the duration of the animal's life.

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Discussion Comments

By anon993243 — On Nov 01, 2015

Fish are not low maintenance.

By anon991784 — On Jul 18, 2015

Rabbits are certainly not low-maintenance pets! There's a reason a lot of people give away pet rabbits. They require a lot of interaction and exercise and can be moody and aggressive, on top of regular cleaning and feeding, and they have long lifespans. I have an 11 year old pet rabbit; he's outlived the family dog.

By anon990942 — On May 17, 2015

Do not be misled! Chinchillas are not low maintenance! I myself have one and I can tell you they aren't like a hamster or a gerbil.

First off, they need a large cage (smallest is 2ftx4ftx2ft), they need a special chinchilla pellet diet, they need weekly dust baths (not the hamster sand) they cannot have water baths. They cannot have fresh fruits or veggies and they need daily interaction/out of cage time- which means chin-proofing the room, making sure no other animals are there and then cleaning up everything. Please, please, please do your research when getting any new pet! Hope this helps


By anon974993 — On Oct 22, 2014

So are mice and hamsters the only very low maintenance pets that exist?

By anon960428 — On Jul 10, 2014

Want a low maintenance pet? Then go online and look for "ecosphere" which are a couple of tiny little Hawaiian shrimp.

By anon354477 — On Nov 08, 2013

How are ferrets low maintenance? And geckos, turtles, etc. require daily care, not to mention next to perfect temps? Geez.

By anon351139 — On Oct 11, 2013

I wanted a puppy but I could not get one because we have five dogs, but my Nana says if I can find a low maintenance pet, I can have one, so does anyone have any suggestions for me? It's for my birthday.

By anon338085 — On Jun 10, 2013

Lizards are not low maintenance. I just had to put my bearded dragon down (just got home from vet; still hysterically crying) because she kept having prolapses. I spent over $2000 and many surgeries and they all failed. She was an incredible pet and I'm going to miss her forever but she was not low maintenance. Even health issues aside, you have to buy live crickets, fresh fruits and veggies daily, along with providing proper light and heat, etc.

By anon317068 — On Jan 31, 2013

I honestly don't know. I love dogs and cats, but I live in a small apartment, so it's really hard. But you can try other animals at Petco on Saturdays. They have dogs and cats, but sometimes other kinds of animals too.

By anon298625 — On Oct 21, 2012

When this article says that snakes, lizards and turtles make good low-maintenance pets, that's not entirely true. First, aquatic turtles need big tanks and terrestrial ones have special diets. Second, some snakes and lizards are very high maintenance like chameleons and green tree pythons. That being said, there are also some low-maintenance snakes and lizards. They include the crested gecko (doesn't need bugs!), the bearded dragon, the corn snake and the king snake.

By anon160405 — On Mar 15, 2011

Does anyone know what the most low maintenance pet is? i have a daughter who wants a puppy and i am trying to find something else to get her.

By anon149611 — On Feb 04, 2011

rabbits aren't low maintenance! no, really, trust me. they are a pain in the butt.

By anon141730 — On Jan 11, 2011

Ferrets are high maintenance, so please do not be misled by this article. It is true that upon first glance, a ferret may seem low maintenance because they sleep 18 to 20 hours a days.

But their cages need to be cleaned at least every other day. Then there is litter box training, play time, (which needs to be supervised because if they can fit their head into a space they can get their body in it), and ferret proofing, not to mention a whole host of other things. Please do in depth research before buying any pet. - Fallyn

By anon140249 — On Jan 06, 2011

I have a tarantula and in my opinion he is extremely easy to care for. I just clean his water and feed him crickets. I have owned a wide range of animals from turtles to horses, and I by far recommend a spider for a easy pet to love.

By anon95832 — On Jul 13, 2010

Snakes are low maintenance. In regards to the vet comment, simply look up your nearest herp vet. I found one right up the street from me (five min drive).

Furthermore, snakes are not costly at all. They eat once a month when they are over three, poop once a month, and require newspaper as a substrate.

I have found snakes to be very easy to take care, very low cost, and an excellent pet. If I take a vacation or leave for a weekend I simply change his water.

By anon89933 — On Jun 13, 2010

snakes, lizards and spiders etc., are not low maintenance! They require a lot of time effort and an awful lot of money (how many vets do you know that would treat a snake if it gets ill?). Spiders are very complicated and some do not adapt well to being in captivity. Who will look after it when you are on holiday?

Turtles require a lot of space and heat lamps etc., and need a complex diet. They also tend to snap and bite and are hard to handle.

Hope this gives some people some advice! Emma

By anon71442 — On Mar 18, 2010

Ferrets are not low maintenance!

By anon25993 — On Feb 06, 2009

The suggestion that lizards are low maintenance is rather misleading - even the most straightforward, eg. the gecko, has an awkward diet - live insects, worms etc - needs a good sized tank, careful environmental management, (eg. avoid sand, particularly with the young), and appropriate heating including a basking area, as well as a moist area for shedding. Anything beyond the gecko starts increasing proportionately with the novelty value.

It's highly beneficial and rewarding for both pet and owner to thoroughly research these things first.

Turtles are a complex choice for a beginner, and even the basic canary will only be a happy bird if given a daily opportunity to fly beyond it's cage. Good luck with the pet search! Sam

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