Do you love animals but don’t have time for such a commitment?
Don’t worry—there are plenty of low-maintenance pets you could fit into your busy life without feeling guilty. From small rodents to fish, there’s a big chance this list contains an animal perfect for your lifestyle.
Keep reading to find out what the easiest pets to take care of are—you might be surprised by some of the little friends on this list.
Best Low-Maintenance Pets
What is the easiest pet to take care of?
This is a common question for people looking to adopt a new animal into their home. The answer may surprise you—many small, low-maintenance pets would make great additions to your home and family.
Hamsters are small, easily portable, and very fun to play with. People tend to overlook them because they’re nocturnal and don’t need much attention, so there’s less opportunity to bond. However, it might be the right pet for you if you’re busy.
Here’s what matters the most: keep its cage clean, feed them, and check its water regularly.
Hamsters are affordable, making them an excellent option for people on a budget. Other than the animal itself, you will need to invest in a cage, bedding, proper hamster food, and some toys and things to keep them occupied, like a wheel or tunnel.
Guinea pigs are very social, so it’s best to get two of them right away so they’ll keep each other company when you’re not around. They are also very active and playful, so they need a large cage to run around in. As for their diet, guinea pigs love their leafy greens, so give them plenty of veggies to munch daily.
These animals are also low-maintenance pets that like to cuddle now and then, so if you’re looking for such a pet, the guinea pig might be the right choice for you.
Their lifespan is about 4–8 years.
Not all snakes are poisonous, but if you decide to get one, make sure it’s from a reputable vendor. They require a warm and humid environment, which can easily be recreated with a vivarium—bonus points for not having to be trained like some other pets.
Snakes are also low-maintenance in terms of feeding, as they can often go a week or more without eating. You can feed them eggs, mice, or rats when they get hungry. Corn snakes, gopher snakes, ball pythons, California kingsnakes, and rosy boas are some of the most common snakes people keep as pets.
Birds are among the simpler animals to take care of because they are very intelligent and friendly. They can easily be trained to do tricks, and they enjoy human interaction. You can also purchase toys for your bird to play with, such as swings and ladders.
The most common pet birds include budgies, cockatiels, and conures. When you pick a bird, make sure its cage is big enough, so it has plenty of space to move around. When it comes to feeding, birds eat various foods, including nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Birds need fresh water every day, so make sure to clean and fill their water dish daily.
Turtles are considered to be cool and low-maintenance pets. The painted turtle is one of the most popular turtles because it’s small (4-12 inches) and can live up to 30 years. These little creatures are primarily kept in conventional terrariums. You’ll need to provide them food at least 4–5 times a week. They usually eat insects, worms, dark greens, and fish.
Maintaining the water temperature and keeping the enclosure clean are two significant factors in caring for a turtle. Turtles like to bask in the sun, so placing a basking lamp on one side of their terrarium is essential. The water should be filtered and changed every one to two weeks.
Before some of you say you’re not a cat person—consider all the different breeds. For example, the British shorthair is your perfect pick if you’re looking for a low-maintenance cat. They get along with kids, dogs, and other cats quite easily, and their shorter fur implies that you won’t need to constantly take them to the groomer.
Cats are independent and thrive in their alone time, so they don’t need as much daily attention from you. That doesn’t mean they won’t come and snuggle with you now and then. They’ll be satisfied if you provide them with food, water, a few toys, a scratching post, and a litter box.
Hands down, the easiest animal to take care of might be a sea monkey. They started appearing in pet stores in the early 1960s and have been a popular pet ever since. Sea monkeys are brine shrimp hybrids. They don’t need to be fed daily and can live in a small space.
All sea monkeys need is food once a week and clean water. They’re called “instant pets” because you don’t have to do much to take care of them. Just add water and wait for them to grow.
If you’re looking for a pet that’s not furry and will live a long time, you may want to consider a leopard gecko. Leopard geckos are one of the best pets because they don’t require much care and can live up to 20 years. Even if you get two or three of them, you can still keep them in a 15–20 gallon tank, and they’ll be fine.
When it comes to feeding them, they’re perfectly content with eating max worms, mealworms, or crickets. A bowl of fresh water is a must, as well as a hiding place for when they feel like it. If you provide them with the basic necessities, they will be perfectly happy living with you for many years.
The hermit crab is another strange and unusual animal that is just as easy to care for as other pets. They’re frequently kept with other marine creatures and tend to be very unbothered once they get used to an environment. Talk about low maintenance, huh?
One of the essential issues in keeping them healthy is getting suitable shells for them to fit into when they outgrow their previous ones. Hermit crabs may grow up to six inches long, requiring at least five gallons of room in their terrarium—placed in indirect sunlight. You’ll need to feed them daily with small pellets or powdered food.
Rats are often overlooked as potential pets but make great low-maintenance companions. They’re intelligent and social creatures that bond well with their humans. Pet rats spend much time grooming themselves and want their food to be adequately placed in heaps.
They mainly eat pellets, but they also like vegetables and fruits. One of the most popular pet rat species is the Norway rat, which lives shorter than some of the other animals on this list (2–3 years). If you’re planning to keep a rat, get them a ventilated cage, some toys, and the correct food, and you’re good to go.
A freshwater fish, such as the betta fish, is a far more manageable alternative to a saltwater fish. If you want your betta to live a long life, you should change the water regularly and feed them at least once a day.
Because of their territorial nature, male betta fish should be kept alone in a tank. This means cleaning their tank wouldn’t require the same frequency as aquariums with more fish. However, female betta fish can easily cohabitate if they’re introduced very young.
If you feel you’re not ready for a puppy and prefer a low-maintenance alternative, a rabbit might be the perfect pet for you. Rabbits should be fed at least once a day, and their water should be refreshed daily. Hay is an integral part of a rabbit’s diet, as it helps with their digestion. Good quality hay should be fresh, dry, and free from dust or mold. Pellets should make up a small portion of their diet, as too many can lead to obesity.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are also a healthy treat for your rabbit and will provide them with the nutrients they need to stay active and playful. Regarding exercise, rabbits need at least two hours out of their cage every day to run around and explore. A simple way to provide this is by setting up a playpen in your home with plenty of toys and space to run.
Chinchillas are on this list because they don’t like being held all that much. They are, however, quite social, so it’d be ideal to get more than one so they can keep each other company. A chinchilla’s cage should have a ventilated environment with nesting material for comfort and plenty of nesting space.
A diet of hay, pellets, vegetables, and water should suffice when it comes to food. Chinchillas also like to chew on things, so providing them with toys or branches to gnaw on is important. These low-maintenance pets are also relatively clean animals; they groom themselves regularly and take dust baths a few times a week.
For all spider lovers, there’s a unique, low-maintenance animal for you—a tarantula. These eight-legged creatures are not only fascinating to look at but are also gentle and make great pets, especially if you’re looking for an animal that doesn’t require too much effort.
They can grow up to ten inches, so a bigger terrarium is a must. Make sure you place the terrarium somewhere dark and humid. Their diet consists of live insects such as crickets, super worms, mealworms, grasshoppers, beetles, roaches, and even small lizards. You should clean their terrarium once every few weeks to prevent mold and pests from growing.
Snails are so easy to take care of that people usually get several at once. You only need to provide them with suitable habitat and food; snails don’t require much attention, so if you are looking for a pet you can just leave alone most of the time, a snail might be a good option.
Remember that snails require a bit of effort to set up their habitat; you’ll need to ensure their cage has plenty of hiding places and moist areas. Snails require a high humidity level to stay healthy and various foods, including vegetables, plants, worms, animal waste, and other types of food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What pets can you leave alone for a week?
Cats, hermit crabs, tarantulas, lizards, snakes, fish, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, turtles, hedgehogs, and even sea monkeys are animals that can be left alone for a week without too much worry.
However, we recommend you find someone to check on your animals every few days to ensure everything is okay. But what if you want a pet that can go for extended periods without care? In that case, look no further than snails and sea monkeys.
What is the easiest pet to take care of and cheap?
Hamsters, guinea pigs, and fish are all pets that are easy to take care of for cheap. Hamsters and guinea pigs require a little food, water, and a few minutes of playtime daily. Fish require only a small tank with regular water changes and can be left alone for extended periods without needing attention.
So, what are the easiest pets to take care of?
If you want a cuddly companion, go for a rabbit or guinea pig. If you want something smaller in size and unusual, try snails or sea monkeys. Always make sure to do your research before bringing them home. With the proper preparation, taking care of an animal can be a rewarding (and fun) experience for you and your new friend.