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Teacher's Guide to Classroom Pets

Small Pets for the classroom

Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs are highly sociable and may even whistle when happy or excited! Their outgoing personalities will likely encourage interaction and fun learning moments with students. For instance, you can have your kids can feed your class Pig the hay and fresh vegetables they love, which will teach students about nutrition. Also, compared to pets like Hamsters and Gerbils, Guinea Pigs' larger size also makes them better for younger hands to hold.

Learn Guinea Pig Care Shop Guinea Pig
How Big Lives to be Eats Experience Level
Up to 12" 5-8 years Hay, pellets, fresh fruits & veggies Beginner

Fancy Rats

Rats are good company! They're typically as comfortable near their Pet Parents as they are sharing a habitat with another Rat. In fact, keeping two Rats together should be a strong consideration. Add tubes to their space so they can run inside them, and old tissue boxes, so they can tear them up to make a nest. Students will love watching them give their exercise wheel a workout.

Learn Fancy Rat Care Shop Fancy Rat
How Big Lives to be Eats Experience Level
7-10" body plus 6-8" tail Approx. 2 years Pellets, fresh fruit & veggies Beginner

Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf Hamsters are a ball—especially when they run around inside one! They do it for exercise, along with running on a wheel, which you can teach about. But students will almost certainly enjoy the pet's entertaining antics. Hamsters also spend considerable time enhancing their habitat, creating separate spaces for sleeping, food storage and burrowing.

Learn Hamster Care Shop Hamster
How Big Lives to be Eats Experience Level
3-4" Up to 2 years Pellets, fresh fruits & veggies Beginner


Playful little Chinchillas are world-class jumpers, so they’re going to need a relatively tall habitat. Students will love the pet’s playful nature and need for company. Outside the habitat, kids can handle the Chinchilla but must do so gently, since the pets are small. You and your students are sure to be delighted by the Chin’s dust bath, which takes place inside a specially designed bath house.

Learn Chinchilla Care Shop Chinchilla
How Big Lives to be Eats Experience Level
Approx. 2-10 lbs. 6-13 years Hay, pellets, fresh fruits & veggies Beginner-Intermediate

PetSmart Vet Assured

Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:

  • Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.
  • Specific standards for in-store pet care.
  • The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you're not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.