Finding the right pet is an important decision, full of responsibility. Unlike your family, you can choose your pets so take the time to read up and get it right. Depending on what you enjoy doing, your lifestyle, any existing pets, your home environment and your children, you need to choose a pet that will fit in well with your family – and enjoy all the benefits of being a part of it too.
Family pets can bring you and your children lots of fun times and happiness. But if you’re considering a new furry (or feathery, or scaly!) addition to your family, it’s best to learn about the needs of different types of pets to find one that will best suit your family and lifestyle, because each pet is different in terms of feeding, care, behaviour and cost. If you’re better prepared, you’re more likely to have a happy pet (which means a happy mum, dad and kids too!)
Choosing the right pet for your family
These days, we’ve a lot more choices in pets, and our pet often becomes our best friend and companion. When it comes to choosing the right pet for your family, you can consider these tips to help guide your decision:
Why do you want a pet?
Ask yourself, “What are the reasons why we want a pet”? Is it to add to your family? Do you want a pet that doesn’t need much attention and is independent, or are you looking for an energetic buddy to play games with and teach tricks to?
Match your pet to your lifestyle
Can you cope with muddy paw prints, pet hair on your furniture, or having to empty a litter tray? And how much time can you give to your pet? How active are you? If you both work full time and the kids are in school, a pet such as a dog might not be the best for you as they require lots of care, attention and regular activity/walks. If you have little ones younger than the age of three, it’s recommended not to get kittens, and opt for an adult cat instead who is used to social interaction and is house trained.
Is my home environment suitable for a pet?
How much space do you have at home, and do you have a garden? If you live in a high rise apartment for example, this may not be best suited for animals such as cats or dogs, but may be ok for birds and other smaller caged pets such as hamsters or reptiles.
It can be costly to have a pet. The food, the accessories and toys and the vet bills all add up – so you need to assess if you have the financial resources available to cover these costs, especially if your pet is ill and needs urgent medical care, or you’re going on holiday and need to pay for a pet sitter or kennel/cattery.
What kind of pet should I consider?
The most popular pets are cats and dogs and smaller animals such as rabbits and hamsters. A puppy can be a great addition to a young family, as children tend to enjoy playing with puppies – and it’s a great way to keep active by going for walks in the park with puppy and kids in tow! But dogs are very social creatures and generally require lots of love and attention, and a good range of toys and activities to keep them happy. You’ll need to be prepared to spend several hours a day with your dog – they’re not happy being left alone for very long.
Despite their reputation for being aloof – cats are extremely loveable and social animals and can bring a great amount of happiness to your home. Cats generally don’t require as much attention as dogs, but you’ll still need a range of toys to play with your kitty every day to keep her entertained. Not only that, but cats can live for 15 years or more, so you need to be prepared for a long-term commitment.
Rabbits are a great choice for families as they are very social animals who enjoy affection and can become wonderful companions as part of a loving family. However, as with any pet, they need attention every day, and they need a varied diet to support their digestion. They tend to prefer quieter environments so a busy or noisy home with other pets such as dogs might not be suitable for a rabbit. We supply a large range of rabbit food to support a healthy diet for your rabbit, and activity toys such as the Boredom Breaker Rabbit Activity Tunnel is a hit for happy, active bunnies!
Hamsters make great family pets, especially if they have human contact from when they are born. From a cost point of view they are fairly economical to look after and can be quite affectionate despite their tiny size! But you do need to keep their cages clean as they can give off a strong smell so make sure you invest in a cleaning spray such as Johnson’s Clean n Safe Small Animal Disinfectant, ideal for hamster hutches and bedding.
What was the deciding factor when you chose which pet was right for your family? Share your stories with other pet-mad folk in our comments below and help them make the right decisions for their families.