Anyone who owns a pet will tell you that the creatures they share their home with add immeasurable joy and happiness to their days. Whether it’s walking a dog, cuddling a cat, or serving a reptile its daily meals, caring for another being is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. It can also reduce your stress. A 2021 study published in the journal Anthrozoos even found that own a pet later in life is linked to fewer anxiety symptoms.
However, it’s no secret that some animals require a lot of time, energy and money. This is where low maintenance pets come in. They’re just as fun and stress-relieving as an energetic pup, but don’t require endless attention or multiple walks a day. Read on for the easy-to-care-for creatures that experts say will brighten up your home and keep the blues at bay.
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Syrian hamsters, also called golden hamsters and teddy bear hamsters, are the most popular type of hamster. “[These pets] are generally low maintenance, quiet and interesting,” says Matthew McCarthyDVM, a veterinarian and founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital in Queens, New York. “They’re fun to watch if you get them a wheel and they’re tame enough to hold them, although a gentle touch is necessary.”
These creatures are nocturnal, so McCarthy notes that they often wake up in the evening and will then happily interact with their humans. They need food and water daily and a small habitat cleaned about once a week.
You may not have considered owning a rat as a pet, but McCarthy assures us they’re cuddly creatures that will happily curl up in your lap while you read or watch TV – and what better way to relieve it. stress than hugs? Of course, “you don’t want to pick up a pizza rat from the Times Square station and take it home,” says McCarthy. “Instead, look for pet rat breeders or rescue groups – there are plenty – and they’ll set you up with a cute pet rat. They’ve been bred as pets for over 100 years. “
Rats are quite social and prefer to be kept in same-sex pairs or groups. Put them in a wire cage and give them fresh food and water once a day.
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Nothing soothes stress like having a companion to talk to – and budgies (or parakeets, for short) do the trick. As the most popular breed of parakeet, they are decidedly talkative and quiet. “Parakeets are very social birds and love to interact with people, birds, and even other animals,” says McCarthy. “They frequently learn behaviors and mimic voices and tones, and with practice some parakeets have been known to learn vocabularies of over 100 words.”
Although they cannot learn to converse, they can learn to imitate and respond to verbal cues and commands. All they need is a small, clean cage with a perch, as well as food and water. Add a few toys with reflective surfaces, bells and rattles to keep them happy, suggests McCarthy.
Hermit crabs are inexpensive, low maintenance, and cute. (Seriously, who doesn’t want to watch a group of little crabs swap shells and crawl around.) “These guys are pretty social, and groups of crabs tend to be more active than individual crabs,” McCarthy says. “Since caring for a few hermit crabs really isn’t any more difficult than caring for one, having multiple crabs is recommended.”
They need a wet cage, which requires some setup. “Use a heating pad under the tank to keep your pets warm,” says McCarthy. “A large bowl of water in the cage will provide humidity.” Once you experience the joy of having one crawling in your hand, you’ll forget all the time you spent organizing them.
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You’ve probably seen these docile creatures swimming in your local pond. But did you know that they also make great pets? “Turtles are cool, calm, composed, and they love to munch on leaves all day,” says Jeff Carbridgea qualified animal behaviorist and training advisor at Dog owner. “Breeds like the African sideneck or the Eastern box don’t grow beyond a foot, which is great if you don’t have a lot of room for them to roam around.”
All you need to keep them happy is a clean enclosure, food, and water. Carbridge explains that turtles are affectionate creatures with lots of personality that develop strong bonds with their owners. “They take things slowly and at their own pace – the way we’re supposed to take life but never do,” he says.
Don’t consider cats to be high-maintenance just because they’re larger than the other animals on this list. All they really need is food, water, a litter box, toys and lots of cuddles. Plus, they provide companionship in many ways, and you’ll notice their stress-relieving effect as soon as you feel a purr in your arms.
“They are often loving and affectionate towards their owners, enjoy being petted and played with, and provide companionship just by being present,” says Amber LaRocka certified veterinary technician. “Many people find having a cat in the house to be a calming and pleasant presence, and cats can make wonderful friends.”
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