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Most pet stores have age limits on buying live animals. These limits are there for a good reason; they are meant to ensure the health and well-being of all live animals sold in their stores, including fish.
How old do you have to be to buy a fish from PetSmart? Or Petco? Both Petco and PetSmart have policies that require you to be 18 years of age or older to purchase a live animal. This includes the purchase of shrimp, snails, and fish. While this policy can be frustrating, it is in place for a reason. Pet stores don’t want children buying animals without their parent’s permission. This could lead to animals entering a home where the parents won’t allow the pet to be kept or neglected because there isn’t a responsible adult in charge of the animal’s care.
Age limits in different countries
The age required to buy a fish at PetSmart or Petco varies depending on where you live. The usual age in the United States and Canada is 18. In the UK and Europe, the legal age to buy a fish is 16.
Reasons for age restrictions on buying fish
The reasons for the age restrictions on buying fish are simple. Without the permission of the parent or guardian, the store has no way of knowing that the fish will be well cared for. It is the minimum responsibility of the pet store to ensure their animals are going to a good home. While there are certainly good arguments for why children should have pets, it’s essential that there is a responsible adult to oversee the health and well-being of that pet.
While fish seem much easier to care for than other live animals, like dogs and cats, they still require a basic level of care. They must be fed daily. Their water must be cleaned and changed on a regular basis. Their water temperature and filtration system must be monitored. It is for these reasons that pet stores won’t sell fish to children.
Fish make great pets for kids
While children aren’t allowed to buy fish themselves without the permission of a parent or guardian, it doesn’t mean that fish aren’t good pets for kids. Keeping a fish as a pet and being responsible for their care is a great way to teach your child responsibility. As a first pet, fish are relatively low-maintenance compared to other animals.
One of the primary reasons parents don’t allow their children to have a pet is the work they require. In our busy lives, the daily care that dogs or cats require can be simply too much. They require walking, training, and constant attention. With a fish, your child will still have the opportunity to care for a pet of their own, but the tasks required to feed and care for them are simple in comparison to many other domestic animals.
Caring for fish teaches children a sense of responsibility. Tasks such as daily feeding, turning the tank filter on and cleaning the tank help them to learn compassion and kindness. For children with attention issues or ADHD, a fish tank’s colorful, underwater world has the added bonus of attracting attention and increasing concentration levels.
For parents, fish require a very small investment of time and money. Fish can’t tear your house up the way a dog or cat might. They don’t need daily exercise, and you don’t have to scoop their poop. They also don’t require the large up-front investment or rack up large vet bills.
PetSmart and Petco have age limits on how old you need to be to buy a fish. The age limits vary between 16 and 18 depending on what country you live in. Parent or guardian permission is required to purchase a fish under this age. There are many reasons why a fish is a great pet for children, but it is a pet store’s first priority to ensure the health and well-being of the animals they sell.