Although many people think small animals such as hamsters and rabbits are cute, experts say just like large animals, they, too, require dedication, time and love.
"When you pick an animal, you should definitely look at how old your children are and the care level each animal takes," said Teia Bills, fish department manager and sales associate at We Lov Pets in Marietta.
Although most people may not think of them as pets, Bills said rats actually make great pets.
"They're very intelligent," she said. "You can train them - it takes time - but they're very smart, they're easy to handle and almost never bite, where the hamster wants to nip at you and the rat bonds well to you."
Christie Dilling, of St. Mary's, got her pet rat, Harry, about two years ago when her daughter was about 2-years-old. Dilling is the assistant manager at We Lov Pets.
"I got it for my daughter because they're friendlier and nicer and easier to handle than a hamster," she said. "They get a bad rap because of their tail - people think they're dirty and unclean - but they're a very good pet."
Rabbit: Something solid should be placed on the bottom of a cage with a wire bottom so it has a comfortable place to rest. It likes temperatures between 59 and 72 degrees. It likes to eat hay, commercial dry food, fruits and vegetables.
Chinchilla: It needs a nest box, sturdy feed bowl, water bottle, bathhouse and special dusts or sand to maintain its fur. It is strictly vegetarian. The animal should have plenty to chew on, as its incisors grow two to three inches a year.
Mouse: It loves to run, climb and explore, so a large, non-wooden cage is recommended. It should be fed commercial rodent food.
Gerbil: It should always be bought in pairs because it loves companionship. It should be kept in a large cage, with one inch of sand so it can scratch, burrow and bathe in it. It eats dry pellets, fresh fruit in small amounts, green vegetables and carrots.
Hamster: It has excellent hearing and poor eyesight. Its bedding should not be changed for one week so it can get used to its new home. The cage should have bedding on the bottom to absorb its wastes, it should have some type of house to sleep in and it should have plenty to chew on. It eats dry hamster food. Apples, iceburg lettuce and celery are also OK in moderation.
Guinea pig: It should be kept in a cage with a plastic solid bottom and removable top. It eats hay, and, until it reaches one year old, it should be given alfalfa. It should always be given a salt block and something to chew on.
Ferret: It should be kept in a cage with multiple levels and room for a litter box, bowls, tunnels, a bed and toys. It eats commercial ferret feed, as well as small bits of fruits and vegetables. It should not be given sweets or dairy products. It should be vaccinated for rabies and canine distemper.
Hedgehog: It should be kept in a large cage because it is very active, especially at night. It eats insects such as meal worms, slugs, snails, caterpillars and spiders. Never give it cold food, as this will cause stomach problems.
Source: We Lov Pets, www.welovpets.com
Devola resident Kayla Fought also has a rat, which she described as "very affectionate" and sociable. Fought is the animal and reptile manager at We Lov Pets.
"If you have a 4-year-old, I wouldn't recommend a hamster - they're not as patient (and) if you wake them up they'll bite you," she said.
According to ratcare.org, large wire cages make better homes than aquariums for rats. In a wire cage, hammocks and toys can be hung high up, providing stimulation and an incentive to climb. Rat treats, which are available at pet stores, and small amounts of fruits and vegetables can be fed to rats.
Fought's rat, Willow, knows to go to her when she calls its name and it even wags its tail.
"I normally let out her out of her cage an hour a day if not more," Fought said. "I rearrange her cage once a month to keep her brain stimulated because they get bored easily."
Other small animals that make good pets are chinchillas and ferrets, though Bills warned they are bit harder to take care of than rats.
"Ferrets are hilarious and fun to play with but they are dirty and you have to clean their cage once a day," she said. "Chinchillas, they have sensitive rib cages and if they're squeezed too hard it could break their rib."
If a chinchilla gets wet its hair falls out, Bills added, and the animal is rather messy because it takes dust baths.
Bills has a chinchilla of her own named Harley.
"They like to be handled or they get skittish if you don't handle them enough," she said.
According to welovpets.com, ferrets should have at least one to two hours of playtime outside their cage everyday. Ferrets eat commercial ferret feed, as well as small amounts of fruits, vegetables and meat. Ferrets have a short digestive track, meaning they usually eat three to five times a day.
Chinchillas are strictly vegetarian, according to the website. They should be given plenty to chew on, as their incisors grow two to three inches a year.
Even birds can make good pets, especially parakeets, finches, cockatoos and macaws.
"If you get them as a baby and bottle feed them, they tend to bond to you really well," Bills said of the macaw. "In the wild, they bond with one macaw for life and thats their mate forever - that's how they bond to people."
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind about the macaw, Bills said, is the fact that it needs plenty of toys to keep it busy or it will get bored quickly.
"They're just like children," she said.