Having a pet at home can be just like having a best friend with whom a family can lean on whenever they have problems, and they can also cheer people up with how cute they are. But do goats make good pets?
Goats can be great pets for people with the time and resources to care for them. They require more space than traditional pets and plenty of outdoor time. Goats can be house-trained, though it’s hard. Goats require plenty to do so they don’t become destructive.
Goats can be a lot of fun and a new take on pets compared to the traditional cat or dog.
Are Goats Friendly? Is Having a Pet Goat a Good Idea?
Goats are friendly. Goats are also smart, curious, loyal, and love affection. Goats love to be petted. Getting a pet goat may be a good idea if an owner has the means to care for and train a pet goat properly. A pet goat may be more time-intensive than most pet owners are looking for, though.
Goats are originally farm animals, but who says you can’t have them as pets? Some may think it’s weird, but what most people don’t know is that goats are very friendly and fun to be with. My kids love playing with and watching our goats!
Having them around can not only not give a person a good companion, but having pets (including a goat) can also give people a measure of stress relief – just from looking at the cute pet goat (and maybe petting them).
Having them around can be good, but pay attention to them because they can cause trouble if left to their own devices. It’s like a bored dog – a bored goat can be destructive, too. And if your goat isn’t dehorned, well, then you’ve got a destructive pet with horns.
Also, some pets smell. This can include goats, so you’ll want to take that into consideration. But more on this later in the article!
However, if there is a neighbor that hates noise or destruction in the yard or anywhere near their house, then having a goat may not be a good idea.
Are Goats Easy to Care For?
Goats make wonderful pets, as long as they get proper grooming, and adequate feeding to keep them healthy, have a safe home and are treated well. Some people may think that having goats as pets is a bad idea, as they are livestock. However, while training the goat is labor and time-intensive, keeping a goat itself is easy.
If they are truly cared for and they feel that they are loved, then there is nothing that you should worry about.
And as far as training a goat being labor and time-intensive, that’s mostly going to be the house-training and then if you want to train them to do any tricks. That’s the hard part. Need help house-training a goat? It’s a lot like house-training a lamb, which is only slightly worse than house-training a dog.
Here’s my guide to house-training a lamb for reference: How to House Train a Lamb: Complete Step-by-Step Guide. Give that a read so you’ll know exactly what to expect when house-training a lamb or a goat kid.
How to Care for a Pet Goat
When it comes to taking care of goats, taking care of one as a pet will be totally different than taking care of one if it’s livestock. Here are some of the things that a person should know about taking care of a pet goat.
Tip #1: Know that goats are smart and curious animals who often get into trouble
Training them to become house pets may take time, but when persistent enough, then it will be a piece of cake. It’s just the training part that’s hard.
Tip #2: Goats are ruminants who need quality grasses and forbs
When feeding them some grass, make sure that it is of good quality. Quality grass or alfalfa is important because goats can be prone to bloat and other diseases. Goats are particularly prone to worms. You can buy products to deworm them, or you can also go with some of the herbal, more natural treatment options. Be sure to discuss which is right for you with your vet.
Tip #3: Know which treats are safe for goats
Goats are herbivores who need a good variety of other foods. Aside from pelleted goat chow, goats also need some good quality grass or vegetables and fruits from time to time.
They enjoy fruits like watermelon, peaches, pears, grapes, and bananas. Goats can also eat kudzu and goats can also eat sunflowers. Those links take you to the articles I wrote on each of those items.
For vegetables, they enjoy carrots, lettuce, pumpkin, celery, squash, and spinach. Make sure to cut it into small pieces to prevent them from choking.
Tip #4: Give your pet goat regular hoof trims, baths, and care
When it comes to appearance, goats also need to have a bath from time to time. Bathing them will remove lice from their body if they have them. It also makes trimming hooves easier, but the owner will need to invest in a nice and sharp pair of trimmers.
Tip #5: House-training a goat will not be easy nor fun
Compared to other types of pets, goats frequently urinate and defecate. They eat a lot, so their system is constantly moving, thus making them urinate and defecate frequently. Don’t worry, because just like any other pet, they can also be taught where to pee and defecate.
They’re used to just kind of going when and wherever (like a deer), though, so expect training to take time. And you’d better start when the goat is a kid, or training may be an ongoing process for their life.
Tip #6: Consider vaccinating your goats (pets or livestock)
Talk to your veterinarian about what they recommend for vaccinations for your pet goat. Tetanus is not a pretty disease. Nor are some of the others that have vaccines available.
I know that not everyone is for vaccines, but I admit I’m all for them to help prevent the needless suffering and deaths of pets and animals. I’m also in favor of most vaccines for people (for the same reasons).
Tip #7: Don’t let your goats get bored
Bored goats may get aggressive and/or destructive. When planning to have a pet goat, make sure to have a wide yard where they can roam around any time of the day as needed. My goats can fit through a chicken door, so I imagine a doggy door would work, too.
Tip #7: Be prepared with an animal or pet first aid kit
A medicine cabinet with some basic medical supplies is very important. It is better to be prepared. When goats get aggressive or bored, then it can sometimes lead to injuries. Keeping the number of your local veterinarian is also important.
Tip #7: Follow your local pet and livestock licensing rules
Different areas have different rules about livestock and pets. Learn about the law in the surrounding area, and make sure that the area allows farm animals.
Be sure to check zoning ordinances, local or general laws, HOA covenants, and any other rules you’ve agreed to abide.
Do Goats Like to be Petted or Cuddled?
Well-socialized goats like to be petted, hugged, and cuddled. Goats are even sometimes compared to dogs due to their attachments to their humans. Just like any other domesticated livestock or pets, goats also love to be touched.
Goats are social animals, and they show their affection through their body language. They can’t say “I Love You” but they will show it by eye contact, rubbing against a person, standing beside them, and even vocalizing it.
The more goats are shown affection the more they will feel loved, and in return, they will also love the family back more.
Do Pet Goats Love their Owners?
How can the owner know if their pet goat is capable of love? It’s simple, love will show through their behavior. One of the best signs is through their friendly manner or behavior.
When they come near the family wanting to be petted and fed and are following family members around, then they truly adore them.
What if a pet goat is still indifferent or doesn’t want to interact at all? Then follow these two simple steps to build a relationship with your pet goat:
- Spend some time handling them – feed them some treats and try to interact with them pleasantly. The bond with them is the most important of all.
- Do not yell at them or chase them as it will only build fear and sometimes cause them to be able to trust a person. They may behave in an unfriendly manner.
It’s like having a pet dog – whoever feeds the pet goat will be their favorite person. And they’ll bleat at you any time they see you in hopes of getting a treat!
Can You Have a Goat as a House Pet?
Goats can be kept as house pets, though they require more intensive training, care, and maintenance than a traditional pet (like a cat or dog). Goats are also a lot harder to house train than dogs, though it is possible.
Keeping a goat in your house may be a bit challenging, but if you are persistent enough, you can keep them as house pets. If you are up for the challenge, then here are the things that you should do and know about.
Tip #1: Check the gender of the goat.
When choosing the gender, the best option that you can choose for an indoor pet goat is a wether (neutered male). Often, wether can be much more approachable than some does (female goat). Here are some of the important reasons why wether is the way to go.
- A wether also doesn’t smell bad like an intact male goat does.
- Wethers don’t generally get aggressive.
- Wethers act like a kid their whole lives.
So, wethers are the perfect bet if you’re going to keep a goat as a house pet.
It is also nice to have a female goat; they can be kept as pets and can also be bred and then milked once they get pregnant. This is great because there will no longer be a need to go to grocery stores just to buy fresh and nutritious milk.
However, keeping a milking doe in the house is likely to get a whole lot messier when there are kids (which are necessary to get the milk – read why in my article here).
So if your goal of having a pet goat is to have a milk goat, then don’t get a pet goat. Just keep some does as livestock for milk.
Tip #2: Think about the horns.
When keeping a goat in the house, make sure to avoid getting a goat that has huge horns. It’s natural for them to have horns, but it can be dangerous if the owner is going to keep them in the house.
Goats love to play; they sometimes do this by gently ramming into a person to show affection. When they feel they are threatened, they can become more aggressive, and it can result in injuring someone unintentionally or breaking the things in the house.
Some people believe that dehorning them while they are still young is the best way, but some are still against it because they feel it is cruel treatment. It is not for the faint-hearted, an owner should be properly informed and only let a veterinarian or someone with experience handle it, especially if they aren’t sure about it.
There are also experienced goat-owners or workers who can teach you to properly dehorn a goat safely. They may offer various goat services (like hoof trimming or shearing) that you may want to take advantage of or have them teach you.
Tip #3: Have lots of outside time.
Learn to compromise – goats love to be free, but make sure to take them back in especially if the weather outside is too cold or too hot.
When you keep them inside the house, make sure that all the important belongings are safe and out of reach. They love to have fun and they can become too active sometimes.
Seriously. Consider a doggy door. And maybe have a three-sided shelter (or even a dog-turned-goat house) outside for your pet. And make sure your goat has plenty of water all year around.
Do Goats Make Good House Pets?
If someone knows how to handle goats well and is prepared for the whirlwind that they can cause in the house, then why not? It is always fun to experience new types of pets aside from the usual cats and dogs.
So, the answer to that question about goats making good house pets is either “it’s complicated,” or “yes and no.”
How Long Do Goats Live as House Pets?
Goats generally live about 8–12 years; with an average lifespan of about 11 years. A long life can be expected if their basic needs and care are met.
The breed of the goat also plays an important role, some breeds can last up to 18 years, but some are not that lucky. For a better idea of how long goats live, here are the types of goats and their life expectancy:
|Alpine Goats||8 – 12 Years|
|Angora Goats||10 Years|
|Boer Goats||8 – 12 Years/12 – 20 Years|
|Kiko Goats||8 – 12 Years|
|LaMancha Goats||7 – 10 Years|
|Myotonic Goats||15 Years|
|Nigerian Dwarf Goats||15 Years|
|Nubian Goats||15 – 18 Years|
|Oberhasli Goats||8 – 12 Years|
|Pygmy Goats||12 Years|
|Pygora Goats||12 – 15 Years|
|Saanen Goats||15 Years or more|
|Toggenburg Goats||8 – 12 Years|
What is the Friendliest Breed of Goat?
Smaller goat breeds (dwarf and pygmy) are generally the friendliest and least scary of all goats, due to their size and gentle nature. I believe the Nigerian dwarf goat is the friendliest.
Even so, many people agree that dwarf and pygmy goats are the friendliest types of goats, because both breeds are gentle and kind.
You can usually see this type of goat in zoos because they are small, and they sure do love hugs! This link has a lot more types of goats, if you are interested in more types of goats: link (takes you to another website in a new window).
Are Goats High-Maintenance Pets?
Having a goat will be high-maintenance at first, as goats have a learning curve. After the initial period, including training, goats are low-maintenance pets. Taking care of them may become expensive at some point, but if someone has the resources, commitment, and knowledge then it will be easier.
Owning a goat is a huge commitment; a person must give them their time, love, and effort. It can be very time-consuming at times, and it can also give be obnoxious.
Do Goats Get Along with Other Animals?
Goats don’t have any trouble when it comes to sharing space with cows, sheep, horses, and donkeys. Goats are naturally herding animals; if only one goat is kept, then they will get bored, destructive, or even depressed easily.
A lonely goat makes a lot of noise – it is their way to ask for companionship, so if planning to get a pet goat, make sure to get at least two. Some goats will adopt other animals as part of their herd, but it’s always safest (and the best bet) to get 2-3 or more herd animals of the same kind.
Want to know which animals get along with which? Check my complete guide, which includes goats: Compatible Livestock: Which Animals Go Together? It is from a livestock perspective, but perhaps it can help you brainstorm ways to keep a pet goat with other pets or animals.
They also get along well with bird residents like chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks, but there are times that younger goats may tend to be more playful or rambunctious and may injure some bird residents from time to time.
Some breeds of dogs may not get along well with goats, or the goats may not appreciate having those dogs around.
Our goats (which are livestock goats, not pets) get along fine with our labrador-poodle mix, though they certainly like to give him a wide berth. He likes to play with them. They don’t like his version of “fun.”
When it comes to house pets such as cats and dogs, don’t worry because goats also get along well with them. If you train them to coexist with goats, then it will be easier because the family is assured that they are safe.
Which is a Better Pet – a Sheep or a Goat?
Most people agree that goats are generally much easier to handle due to their personality traits than sheep, though a shepherd or a sheep pet owner may disagree. This also comes down to individual animals, as a well-behaved sheep may make a better pet than a rowdy goat.
Goats are a much better companion because they are more energetic and affectionate. A quora answer thread I recently read definitely agrees that goats are better as a pet (quora thread here; you may need an account to be able to log in and read it).
But if a family wants to experience having a sheep at home, then why not? Sheep can make great pets, too – I wrote about it in this article here: Do Sheep Make Good Pets?
Must-Have Pet Goat Products
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Goats do require regular care, so I think it would only be smart to keep a pair of hoof trimmers on hand. This is the pair I ordered and use from Amazon. They’ve held up well, even after I left them in a bucket during a rainstorm – and forgot to get them out for a few days.
If you need deworming medicines, Amazon also sells this Merck Safeguard dewormer. I’ve heard good things about it from other goat owners, but I haven’t personally used it. Just be sure to talk with your vet about it first.
Key Takeaways: Goats as Pets
Overall, I think sheep and goats make good pets, but I think they do best when kept in a herd as a backyard type of pet. That way, you get all the perks and benefits – without the stress of having to house-train an animal who isn’t used to having to go in a certain area or time.
Now, I do have one more article I think you should read before you decide if you’re going to keep goats as a pet. This article (that I wrote) is all about goat poop – so it’s definitely something to know. It’ll not only help you make this decision but also help you better understand a goat’s health based on their poop. Read it next here: Raising Goats, Poop, and Hygiene: What You Must Know!
Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homesteaders.
- Garman, Janet. “How Long Do Goats Live?” Backyard Goats, 7 Apr. 2021, https://backyardgoats.iamcountryside.com/health/how-long-do-goats-live/.
- “Goats as Pets.” RSPCA, https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/farm/farmanimals/goats.
- Griffler, Zee. “How Goats Get along with Other Species.” The Open Sanctuary Project, 18 Sept. 2020, https://opensanctuary.org/article/how-goats-get-along-with-other-species/.
- Haynes, Sherry. “15 Best Goat Breeds for Pets.” PetHelpful, PetHelpful, 8 Oct. 2019, https://pethelpful.com/farm-pets/15-Best-Pet-Goat-Breeds-for-Pets.
- Lee, April. “Do Goats and Dogs Get along?” Farmhouse Guide, 17 Feb. 2021, https://farmhouseguide.com/do-goats-and-dogs-get-along/.