Pros and Cons of Having a Class Pet

Considering keeping a class pet? Here are some things to think about before you make the decision to bring a live animal into your classroom.

The pros of keeping a class pet

Keeping pets in the classroom

1. Your students will learn something about responsibility. You can rotate the feeding schedule of your class pet so that every day (or week), someone new is in charge of feeding your classroom friend. For an entire day or week, a single child could be fully in charge of the pet. They can perform a variety of tasks including feeding the pet, caring for the pet, and helping to clean the pet’s living space (depending on what sort of pet you keep).

2. Some students might not be allowed to have pets at home, and having a class pet will help them to experience something they would never have been able to experience without having a class pet. This will help them to experience new emotions, learn new skills, and understand the feeling of having a dependent.

3. You can bring math and science to life by keeping a class pet. Here’s an example of how you can make a unique math journal prompt for your class about your class pet: “If Chilly, our hamster, eats 30 pellets of food a day, how many pellets does he eat in one week?”

4. Students will learn about respect and commitment through helping to take care of their class pet. As they watch the pet grow and change they will see and understand the correlation between a pet and other living beings. This could help them to learn empathy and compassion.

The cons of keeping a class pet

1. Someone has to clean up after the pet! Even the cleanest pet will require some extra work from you or from the kids in your classroom (though the ultimate responsibility rests on you, the teacher.

2. The pet may die in your care, and if it does, you’ll have to console your students and explain to them the not-much-fun concept of death. Some may not see this con as a negative, however, as going through this unhappy experience will help your students to understand the cycle of life, and help them to cope with death when it occurs in their own private lives.

3. You’ll have to pay for food and equipment needed for your class pet. However, there do exist organizations, like Pets in the Classroom, that offer grants to help subsidize teachers and educational institutions to keep a pet in the classroom.

4. You’ll have to take it home on weekends and holidays and care for your class pet in between school days, or find someone else who can do this for you.

5. Some of the children in your class might have allergies, and might be allergic to certain pets. Children can be allergic to hamsters or gerbils, for example. this is something that would have to be taken into account if you are going to have your class care for a furred class pet.

Alternatives to a class pet

If you’re not quite ready to purchase and keep a pet in your classroom, there are some ways that your students can experience what it is like to have a class pet without undergoing the full experience. Here are some viable alternatives:

1. Borrow a neighbor’s pet for the week and allow your students to experience caring for it for a short period of time. You might even bring in a different friend’s pet each week: an iguana, a bunny, fish, a dog, and so on. You can then tie your science and math lessons to the new pet that is visiting your classroom for the week. Using this method, the students can learn a lot about a lot of different pets during a school semester or term.

2. You can ask a pet store if they would let you undergo a trial period with one of their pets to see if keeping it might work out in your classroom. This would give you an opportunity to see if you and your students want or are ready to make the full commitment to keeping a pet in your classroom.

3. They may not be as fun as class pets, but keeping plants in the classroom can also help students learn about caring for living creatures, proper food and nutrition, and the cycle of life, death and rebirth through growing new plants from seeds harvested from older plants.

Types of pets that make good class pets

Qualities of a good class pet are: cheap, small and hardy!

Examples of some good choices for class pets:

  • Hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs make great pets because they are soft, furry and funny, especially if you buy a running wheel for them to exercise on. Kids love to watch them at play!
  • Fish are also great, especially Betta fish, as they require less cleaning of their environments and are a very hardy fish. Just remember not to keep more than one Betta fish in a single aquarium at one time! They aren’t called Siamese Fighting Fish without good reason.
  • Reptiles also make great class pets, but make sure to get one that is not poisonous and does not require a very specific environment that needs to be regulated with care. It is important to find a pet that is simple and fun to take care of.

Best of luck with making your decision whether or not you and your students should make the commitment to keep a class pet! If you do decide to keep a pet in your classroom, I hope that you and your students enjoy and benefit from caring for it.

Mixminder on TPT

48 Responses to “Pros and Cons of Having a Class Pet”

  1. Rachel says:

    This is a great list of pros and cons! Thank you for including Pets in the Classroom in the post. Class pets have wonderful benefits if a teacher is ready to handle the extra responsibility and learn how to care for the pet properly.

  2. annyanomous says:

    I am an a preschool teacher and when our goldfish died, my class was upset. 6 weeks after the goldfish died is when every one got over it. KEEP PETS OUT OF THE CLASSROOM!

    • Hi there, I appreciate the counterpoint to this article! It is true that having a pet die can be traumatic to kids. Though it can also, depending on the age of the children, be a learning experience about life and death – one that they will eventually have to learn and come to grips with. It is up to the teacher and the parents to decide.

      Thanks again for the comment!

    • Natalia says:

      I know that death is sad and all, but not all preschoolers are sad about it

  3. kaden says:

    I love it!

  4. Frank Jones says:

    Thank you so much. I am going to use this site for my essay!

  5. LemonLime123 says:

    I love this list! You’ve probably noticed that people are making a lot of essays and I am one of those people. Thank you for your great reasons….

  6. LemonLime123 says:

    my essay went ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!! Thank so VERY much for your wonderful ideas and information! I got an A on my essay so thank you so much for creating this webpage!!!!

  7. Sprite says:

    cool that helped

  8. Sprite says:

    I have persuasive essay and i’m doing it on this

  9. anonymous says:

    Cool. I will totally use this for my essay

  10. i am using this for a research project and i think there should definitely be something about kids that are allergic to pets, in the cons section 😉

  11. Darla says:

    This IS AMAZING It is sooo good and helpful and it will help me with my argumentative essay Thanks soo much for wrighting this .
    🙂

  12. Dara Gafoor says:

    Thank you so much for all of these proas and cons. needed for my essay! Plus these facts are pretty serious. 🙂

  13. Dana says:

    This site will be really useful for my pros of having a class pet persuasive essay!

  14. Hannah says:

    I’m against having a class pet because most of my sources have some more cons than pros… and (not everyone likes pets) I mean their cute and all but they are a lot of work need most of the attention and someone has to CLEAN UP after the pet.

  15. Vivian Olivares says:

    Thanks for writting this it will help me for my essay.And i agree with everything you said….

  16. Middleschooler says:

    This is so helpful i learned a lot. This is very useful and you are a great author!!!

    • Middleschooler says:

      And yes im doing an essay too. I say Cons. No pets in the classroom!!!!

      • I am glad to hear that – thanks very much for your comment and for your opinion about pets in the classroom! I appreciate it. All the best to you and your middle school classmates this spring season.

    • I am happy to hear that you have learned some interesting information about pets in the classroom through this post. Thank you very much for letting me know – I really appreciate it!

  17. rachel says:

    thank you

  18. Jayden says:

    I think that pets should be allowed in school class rooms because they would keep you strees
    free and then you could be reminded of how we live in a boutfual world

  19. GHHGFYHGVFS says:

    good pros and cons for my argument essay

  20. Janze says:

    I am doing some reserch on classroom pets and was wondering if maby i could ask you a few questions about classroom pets thank you.

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