The Top Ten Most Demanding Pets

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Learn why some pets are harder to care for than others. Learn what animals are more demanding of time or supplies. Learn about the needs of some popular pets.

Ferrets - Ferrets are very intelligent animals, once used for hunting rabbits. They are naturally very curious, and soon get bored living in a cage. Ferrets do well in pairs as this gives them the mental stimulation of having something to interact with. It is not enough to provide a ferret with an assortment of toys, they really need several hours out of their cage every day.

Sugar Gliders

These are a new pet from Australia. Many people have acquired them only to be disappointed due to the amount of time they need to put into caring for their exotic pet. Sugar Gliders do best in pairs. When not kept in the company of other gliders they should be carried around by their owner in a pouch. They bond and form attachments to their owner when they receive good care. The amount of time an owner needs to devote to companionship of these animals is often overwhelming, especially when one realizes they cannot be trained not to pee or poop in the pouch.


Reptiles are not so demanding on time as they are on care and space. Many species grow to amazing sizes where they almost require an entire room devoted to them, for example the Iguana. On the whole, reptiles have very specific needs in terms of housing. They must have their environment set at a specific temperature in order for them to digest their food properly. They have very specific lighting requirements which often involves two different light sources, one for warmth, one for ultra violet light.


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Birds in general have very specific needs in terms of the type of food they eat and their need for grit and oyster shell. Some birds don't eat seeds at all but are fed a nectar, which must be fresh daily. Most birds do poorly when kept alone, and particularly the larger birds, such as parrots, need several hours' worth of daily attention from their owner. A lack of such results in stress to the bird, which will show up as negative behavior.


Again, an other exotic pet many people get into because of the "unusual" factor, only to find out just how demanding they really are. Primates are very intelligent, if their mental needs are not met they become bored and destructive. Primates also require a good amount of space to act naturally; however many people see some species of monkeys as though they were tiny children, often depriving of the animals ability to act naturally, a very sad excuse for the keeping of a pet.

Intelligent Dogs

As with primates, and parrots, any intelligent animal needs a lot of attention. If their mental needs are not met they become bored and destructive as they look for something to do. Some of the more intelligent dogs are Border Collies, Jack Russel Terriers, and Australian Shepherds. If not given jobs these dogs will find them on their own. 

Long Haired Pets

Any pet with long hair is going to require some coat maintenance. Think about how often you brush your own hair in a day, and why. People brush their hair to look good, but also to avoid it knotting up. In pets these knots quickly form painful mats. Some people select to take their long haired pet to a groomer to have the hair shaved off, and although in theory this is fine, it does not negate the fact that the pet should be brushed in between trips to the groomer.

Hairless Mammals

Often marketed as pets for people with allergies, hair less pets, such as cats, dogs, and guinea pigs, need special care. Most of these hairless pets need to be indoors only and out of the sun or they will get sunburns. They need to be kept warm, and may need lotions for their skin.

Young Pets

Any pet is most vulnerable for problems when it is just separated from its mother. The stress of weaning can put the pet at risk for getting sick. Cats and dogs should not be weaned before 7-8 weeks of age, although people often wean younger. If they are not vaccinated, they are susceptible to disease, and in fact are at risk until their vaccinations are boostered. Orphaned animals are particularly needy. They require round the clock care for the first week or so, and in some animals they must be stimulated just to go to the bathroom. Caring for orphaned animals is not cheap; cows milk can cause problems and formula is costly. Click here to read about caring for orphaned puppies, or here for caring for orphaned kittens.

Old Pets

Older pets no longer require time devoted to exercise and so forth, but have other special needs that must be addressed. An owner may find they have to help their pet up or down the stairs. Older pets often have specific diet needs and generally have a few more trips to the veterinarian.

Related Links

Top Five Cheap and Easy Pets

A comparison of 14 Exotic Pets

Guide for Buying an Exotic Pet


Virginia Grant
Posted on Jan 11, 2012
Andi Allegre
Posted on Apr 24, 2011
Martha lownsberry
Posted on Nov 2, 2009