Pocket Pets Project

What is it All About?

Lions, tigers, and bears…oh my!  These do not make good pets, but many other animals do.  The 4-H pocket pet project will help you explore what kind of pet fits into your family’s lifestyle and how you can be an excellent caretake for it.

Grow in Your Project

Starting Out

  • Gather information and determine the best pet for your family
  • Learn about the proper care, grooming and feeding of your pet
  • Learn to identify the parts of your pet for conversations with your vet
  • Create a plan to prevent your pet from getting lost or finding it if it gets lost
  • Purchase and use the appropriate grooming equipment and techniques

Learning More

  • Plan a training and exercise program for your pet
  • Prepare for participation in a pet show
  • Make a decision about breeding or not breeding your pet
  • Compare the labels on pet foods to make an informed decision on content and price
  • Keep a diary of your pet’s health and eating habits

Going Further

  • Develop a business plan for a pet care or pet sitting business
  • Assess careers related to pets and pet business
  • Help a friend make a decision about pet ownership
  • Research diseases in pet mammals, birds, and fish
  • Identify symptoms and a course of action for a disease in your pet


Take Your Project Further!

  • Learn about service animals and how they compare and contrast to
  • Explore what kinds of birds make the best pets
  • Learn how pet birds and fish arrive at the local pet store. Do breeders in the United States raise them or are they imported from other countries?
  • Research all the kinds of parasites your pet might get and how to protect you and your pet
  • Research the difference between fresh water fish tanks and salt water tanks
  • Sometimes people give bunnies and chicks for presents at Easter – explore the pros and cons
  • Explore what kind of restrictions your community might have on pets? Can a pet owner keep a large snake in their backyard – or call a chicken or pot-bellied pig a pet?
  • Explore the subject of animal assisted therapy, how it is used and what the benefits are

Applying Project Skills to Life

Enhance Your Communication Skills

  • Give a demonstration about your pet and what it eats
  • Create a citywide campaign about the importance of cleaning up after your pet

Get Involved in Citizenship and Service

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Take your pet to a school or nursing home

Learn about Leadership

  • Organize a club pet show
  • Develop a plan to foster pets for deploying soldiers
  • Start a pet sitting business

Showing What You’ve Learned

  • Exhibit your pet at the fair
  • Make a first aid kit for a pet. Tell why and how each item is used
  • Share diet and nutrition information for raising a healthy pet
  • Interview your veterinarian about a microchip to identify your pet; develop a video about options
  • Attend a pet show; take photos and make a notebook about pet breeds
  • Visit a pet store and find as many pieces of pet equipment as you can. Identify necessary equipment and costs
  • Make a poster on diseases your pet can get. Tell about its discovery, effects, treatments, etc
  • Research jobs related to pets; make a poster showing three jobs that interest you
  • Develop a video showing the steps in training a pet
  • Research the country or area your pet came from. Take special note of the people, tradition and other types of animals that live in the area. Design a poster showing your pet’s origin
  • Design a toy for your pets; tell about your decisions related to safety and cleanliness

Adapted with permission from Wyoming State 4-H, Project Information Sheet, Pocket Pets. Retrieved from: https://www.uwyo.edu/4-h/projects/animal-science/pocket-pets.html.

*Resources available at your local Extension office or shop4-H.org.

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