8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Family Pet

2013 January 7
by Michelle

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puppies 8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Family PetIt can be tempting to purchase a pet to grant your child’s birthday or holiday wish, but purchasing one impulsively often means the long-term commitment required to be a responsible pet owner gets overlooked.

Before considering adopting a family pet, it is important to take inventory of your preferences, lifestyle and home so you can determine if a pet – and what type of pet – is best suited for your family.

As you contemplate getting a family pet, be sure to consider:

  1. Your ability to commit. Being a pet owner requires a commitment of time, energy and financial resources. Cuddly kitties and pudgy pups eventually grow up, and helping them grow into healthy cats and dogs requires years of investment.  Before purchasing a family pet, be sure you are willing and able to make a long term care commitment of love, time and money.
  2. Your lifestyle. Some pets, like certain dogs, require lots of companionship, but others, like birds, can tolerate more time alone. You’ll want to consider how much time and energy your lifestyle will allow you to dedicate to a pet.  If your family spends a lot of time away from the home, you’ll want to take that into consideration.
  3. Your living area. Families who live in homes with large, fenced in backyards are better suited for some pets, like dogs, than families who live in apartments or condos with no outdoor green space. Families without lots of green space may wish to consider pets like cats or birds. Considering your available space will help determine what type of pet you can best accommodate and care for.
  4. Your family’s allergies. Allergies can play a huge role in determining how pet-friendly your family and home can be. Depending on the types and intensities of allergies, they can significantly limit the types of pet you can own. If you’re considering a pet, you may wish family members to undergo a pet allergy test, and if you suspect allergies, you may wish to opt for a hypoallergenic pet.
  5. Your pet’s care plan. If you have a nanny, you’ll want to be sure to discuss the idea of getting a pet with her, especially if you anticipate her playing a role in the pet’s care plan. If you travel a lot or are away from home all day, you’ll also need to consider hiring a caretaker for your pet or looking into boarding options.
  6. Your pet preferences. When considering a pet, you’ll want to consider what type of pets your family members have expressed interest in. Some people are naturally drawn to dogs, others to cats, and still others to snakes and other types of creepy crawlers. Having a general sense of pet preferences can help guide you to deciding on the right family pet.
  7. Your pet’s family friendliness factor. Some types and breeds of animals are considered more kid-friendly than others. An animal who lives with children must be tolerant of typical children’s behavior and have a tendency towards non-aggression. It’s important to thoroughly research any pet you’re considering to make sure it’s an appropriate choice for families with young children.  
  8. Your children’s safety. Some pets, like reptiles, rodents, amphibians, ferrets and exotic animals, are not suited for homes with children. It’s important to consider what types of viruses and bacteria can be transmitted to humans. Reptiles, for example, can spread salmonella, which can be especially harmful to small children.

Family pets can bring a lot of joy and love to both adults and children when they are well cared for. Carefully considering if your family is able to make the commitment required to be responsible pet owners will help ensure you  make the right decision for your family and for any potential pet you welcome into your home.

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