Teachers! Here’s How to Get A Grant Toward A Classroom Pet (Even If You’re Teaching Virtually)

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

kids holding class pet

Teachers! Want to add a new friend to your classroom?

Pets in the Classroom is once again taking applications for the 2021 – 2022 school year! This amazing grant program provides teachers financial support to purchase and maintain small animals in their classrooms! Even better, you can still qualify for the grant even if you will be teaching virtually this school year!

Note that this is not a first come first-served program – ALL teachers who qualify for the Pets in the Classroom program will receive a grant!

The program does ask that you carefully consider what type of pet you want for your classroom as well as district guidelines and even suggests that you have your students vote on what type of animal they would prefer.

child sitting reading a book to a hamster

The Pets in the Classroom grant can be applied for every school year; however, if you have previously received the grant, you will only be eligible for a sustaining grant to help provide for the classroom pet you have already purchased. If you no longer have the original pet, you can also use the sustaining grant to purchase a new pet and supplies.

Teachers, Pre-K through 9th grade, in both public and private schools are eligible to apply for the grants even if you’re teaching virtually! Head here to learn more about the program.

Note that homeschools and daycares currently do not qualify for this program.

lizard in a terrarium

See what other teachers had to say about this awesome program…

I did this last year after seeing it here and it worked out great! I did the aquarium with fish from a private pet store. Everything was reimbursed that way. I got neon rocks, fake plants, and extra food and filters since I had extra to spend.

It was nice to support a local shop, too. I would recommend just normal little inexpensive tetras to start. I bought Goldfish at first but they weren’t as hardy. My students loved it and I would definitely recommend it since it was easy to buy at a local shop, submit the receipt by the due date, and get a check in the mail.


This program is amazing. They also have a sustaining grant so that you are able to receive up to a certain amount in supplies each year for your pet received with the grant. I bought supplies, submitted receipts and received a check back.


I did this last year and my students loved it. Take a look at the different stores and their coupons before deciding what to do. Petco gave a coupon for a free enclosure and 50% off the pet where Petsmart gave 50% off the enclosure and a free pet.

I walked out of Petco with a $200 cage, supplies and pet for just $32 out of pocket!

Teachers! Don’t miss out on these other awesome discounts!

Join The Discussion

Comments 21

  1. heatherburch

    I did this last year and have a beta fish in my classroom. My students LOVE it! So easy to apply and getting your pet from the store.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How neat! SO glad to hear the fish has been a hit! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

      • Jean Daley

        Are public libraries able to apply?

  2. Teacher1

    This program is amazing. They also have a a sustaining grant so that you are able to receive up to a certain amount in supplies each year for your pet received with the grant.
    I bought supplies, submitted receipts and received a check back.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh cool! Thanks for the helpful tip!

  3. Bethany Ostler

    I did this last year and my students loved it. Take a look at the different stores and their coupons before deciding what to do. Petco gave a coupon for a free enclosure and 50% off the pet where Petsmart gave 50% off the enclosure and a free pet.

    I walked out of Petco with a $200 cage, supplies and pet for $32 out of pocket.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Nice score! Thanks for the suggestion! Happy you could grab some great savings!

  4. Tracey

    I am an animal science teacher who has classroom pets. Our pets are cared for amazingly and get wonderful care. I think this is a great program and they provide lots of info on what owning certain pets entails. They also ask good questions. I am not saying every teacher should get a pet but for those that do their research and have a solid plan for weekends/vacation/summer, it’s an awesome program. As a teacher that invests a lot of her own money in our animal’s enrichment, food, supplies, etc., this is a great way to give back to teacher’s as well.

  5. Elle

    Also consider checking if your local animal shelter has adoptable small pets! I work at a large animal shelter and we are currently overrun with guinea pigs…currently we have a “name your own adoption fee” for them and I am sure other shelters with small critters are in similar situations. ☺️

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing that, Elle! Good to know!

  6. amber-20

    Please do not get a rabbit as a class pet. They are not meant to be kept in small cages. They need at least a 4 foot by 4 foot space and let out to roam for hours. They deserve so much better than to be in a classroom

    • amber-20

      Add: I have a rabbit rescue fill of surrendered rabbits where people don’t realize how much work they are and give them up.

    • Sarah C

      Totally agree and second this.

    • Sadie

      Agree, as much as I love this idea of a classroom pet, are these teachers taking these rabbits home at the end of the day? Or are they just leaving them in a tiny PetSmart cage until tomorrow? Just seems super abusive. I’m genuinely interested to learn more from others who have classroom pets. Anyone can reply!

    • lexiloowho

      Yes!!! Please do not get rabbits! They need much more care and room than people think. It’s so sad seeing them in tiny cages. They are much smarter than that.

  7. Camsmom

    I’m legit and have a work email and work at a school; but do they call the principal? I’m not his favorite and I’m sure extra calls or emails at the beginning of the school year would be an annoyance.

    • Kasey

      It has been several years since I did the initial grant but for the sustaining grant there is a form that the principal signs. I believe it is the same for the initial grant. You could always get a signature from the assistant principal.

  8. Kasey

    I did this 6 years ago and got an aquarium for my classroom. Every year since I have gotten the sustaining grant and it has been enough that I have never paid a penny out of pocket for our class pets. (This is not the case with all animals that you could choose because some are just more expenses to upkeep.) This is seriously the easiest grant I have ever applied for as a teacher and all of my students have loved it!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s wonderful to hear, Kasey! Thanks so much for letting us know how successful it has been for your classroom!

  9. Kim

    What animals are available or what animals have teachers recieved?

    • Quinn

      There is a list on their website. I am picking up our bearded dragon tomorrow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register



Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?