Pets make a wonderful addition to any family. Pets are a great source of affection and unconditional love, as well as a great way to help teach children responsibility. However, deciding which pet is right for your family isn’t always an easy task. Children may fall in love with the cute pit bull puppy they see in the pet store window, not realizing that the tiny bundle of fur will eventually grow into a 100-pound dog. Also, many families are too busy to give high-maintenance pets the attention they require.
Luckily, choosing the right pet for your family doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you are honest with yourself about your family’s lifestyle, even the busiest of families can find a perfect pet. Here are some things to consider:
Are You an Indoor or Outdoor Family?
If your family tends to enjoy indoor activities or lives in an urban environment, consider pets like cats, smaller dogs, rabbits or birds, who can all happily live indoors full time. Families who spend a great deal of time outdoors may prefer a dog for the family pet, especially if they like to engage in high-energy activities.
How Old is Your Family?
Families with very young children must be very careful when choosing a pet. Dogs often feel threatened by toddlers, so choosing a pet with a gentle disposition and training him well are a must. Puppies and kittens are delicate and require a great deal of attention, which you may not be able to provide if you are busy with small children. Families with elderly members should be sure to choose a pet who is not too playful, as a large and rambunctious pet could easily knock over someone who was unsteady on her feet.
How Busy is Your Family?
Pets require time, for attention, training, play, exercise, feeding, grooming, veterinary visits and more. Some pets can be left alone all day while parents work; others need to be attended to every few hours. Is someone around all day at your house? A dog might be perfect in that case. If your family is out and about constantly, consider a cat (or two cats, so they can keep each other company).
Can Your Family Afford a Pet?
Pets can be expensive, particularly if you choose a large dog who has a big appetite or a pet who requires a great deal of veterinary care. There are ways to keep your costs down, but definitely consider your budget when choosing a pet.
All Dogs and Cats are NOT Created Equal
Consider this golden rule when choosing a pet: the breed of cat or dog you choose matters. Some cats are content to sleep all day, while others want constant attention and require a lot of play. Similarly, some dogs are lap dogs while others will act up if they don’t get regular exercise. Research breed characteristics carefully! Also, consider adopting an adult pet – if you can spend some time getting to know an adult animal, you’ll be able to determine whether his or her personality would work with your family dynamic. With puppies and kittens, their eventual personality is a mystery.
Each family will have other unique issues to consider as well, but these are questions that everyone needs to ask before choosing a pet. Keep these things in mind as you search for your family’s perfect pet, and you can’t go wrong!