Do you spend long days at the office? Perhaps you frequently travel and divide your time between family and work commitments.
You might be far from home for long periods of time, but there is no feeling as fantastic as having a pet that’s ecstatic to see you walk through the door at the end of the day.
If you are searching for a pet to love but need flexibility, then check out our list of the best pets for busy people and frequent travelers.
1. Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins
You quite likely know what a turtle is, but do you know the distinction between turtles, tortoises, and terrapins? Some languages don’t offer these shelled creatures different names, but in English, a turtle is a sea-dwelling Testudines, whereas a terrapin lives by fresh water and a tortoise on land. In North America, red-eared sliders are considered easier breeds to keep in captivity at home.
- They can live for a long time, often up to 25 years or longer
- Inexpensive food requirements
- Can pass on salmonella and carry herpes
- Each species requires a specific diet
- They should be in a very large tank, and this is difficult to move
- Their tanks require more cleaning than many novice owners expect
- Very docile with limited ability to interact with their owner
- Breeds often require both a dry and aquatic environment
When you think about becoming a pet owner, we are confident that a hermit crab won’t be the first idea that pops into your mind. However, they are fairly simple to care for, and make for an excellent conversation starter.
- Can live five years or longer; the oldest known hermit crab in captivity lived to be over 40
- Small size and easily transportable
- Easy to feed and don’t need to keep a strict schedule
- You will need to keep an eye on the humidity in their enclosure
- The enclosure should be cleaned monthly
- Multiple hermit crabs can start to fight but are still do best when not housed alone
Did you know that Guinea pigs are not pigs nor native to Guinea? However, Guinea pigs are cute and cuddly and much more robust than many other smaller rodent pets. They tend to weigh approximately 1.5 to 2.5 pounds on average. Guinea pigs live well in groups, though be sure that you spay or neuter your guinea pigs before you end up with unwanted offspring. We have heard of more than one occasion where families only discover that they have both a male and female after a litter of pups arrive.
- Live for five to seven years
- Can eat solid food from birth
- Herbivores happy to eat a mixture of pellets and vegetable or fruit scraps
- Rarely bite
- Easily transportable
- Very economical to maintain
- Needs socialization with humans to counter their innately timid behavior
- Ideally, they should be kept with another Guinea pig to avoid feeling lonely
- Cages should be cleaned weekly, or they start to smell
- They rarely sleep, so they can be noisy
You may know betta fish by their other common names, including Japanese Fishing Fish or Labyrinth Fish. Bettas are often considered great pets for novice fish owners and those that frequently travel. Though easy to manage, it is important to know what temperature bettas like from this site and what other fish bettas will happily share their tank with. Male bettas tend to fight with other males, though females can often live in a group.
- Can learn tricks and recognize their owner
- Require a smaller tank or bowl than other fish species so easy to move
- Affordable to buy and maintain
- Can be fed with a vacation feeder for up to a week
- Vibrant colors look fantastic in any room
- Only live for up to three years
- Male betta fish will fight if put in a tank with other males or aggressive fish species
- The tank needs to be cleaned, and water refreshed regularly
If creepy-crawlies don’t give you the shivers, then a tarantula might be the ideal low-maintenance pet for you. You might find it challenging to find someone willing to look after your tarantula if you go on an extended trip, but these pets can easily live without being fed or handled for long periods.
- Very easy to maintain
- Can live in a relatively small enclosure
- Females can live for twenty years or more
- Very quiet pets
- Can easily go for a week between feeding and more if molting
- Need specific food like mealworms that are not always available
- Some people are allergic to them
- Your pet will likely freak out a lot of visitors
- More of an observation pet rather than one for handling
Dogs indeed require more regular affection, socialization, and exercise than most other pets on our list. However, dogs arguably provide the most companionship in return.
If you have a strong support network willing to accept part-time responsibility for a dog, you are more likely to make dog ownership work for you. These days most cities also have excellent dog daycare options so that your pet can play with their friends while you’re at work.
- Excellent companion animals
- Can live for seven to 17 years depending on the breed
- Can assist with feelings of loneliness, stress, and depression
- Make a great fitness buddy
- Dogs can be used as a reason to socialize with other dog owners
- Dogs can be expensive to buy, feed, groom and maintain routine veterinary care
- You will need a pet sitter or boarding kennel if you go away
- Should not be left alone for more than six hours, depending on the breed and age
- Puppies or even adult dogs are often destructive if left alone
Owning any pet is a responsibility that doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle. It will be more challenging to be spontaneous as your pet will always need to be considered. However, if you feel that you can devote the financial and emotional resources to an animal, please ensure it is for their lifetime.