The family pet has been a staple of many memories as far back as we can remember. For many of us, we can recall a dear family pet growing up. Some of us dressed them, others took them for walks, and a select few of us had the non-traditional pets in our home. Family pets are truly members of our family. But, how do you know if you are choosing the right pet for your family?

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Before we select a family pet, there are important facts we should consider. Taking the time to decide on the right family pet for your household should take some thought and consideration. Many have jumped into buying a rabbit as an Easter present or bringing home a baby chick from the carnival, only to find out the hard way it was not a good match for their family home.

Here are some tips for choosing a family pet:

1. Family Lifestyle.

What kind of animal can you accommodate in your family home? Do you live in an apartment with no access to a backyard or large outdoor space, or do you live in a roomy home with a big backyard? For example, some dogs require lots of exercise and others do not. Some cats only need a cat tree or window and can be alone for hours. If you are hardly ever home, a pet fish may be a better fit for your family versus an active dog that will need plenty of activity and attention.

If you have small children, do your research and find an animal that will live well with small children. In my case, I have two dogs that tolerate and play with children well. My children like to dress them up and cuddle with them, and our pets love it. However, not all pets would tolerate being smothered by children, like some cats for example.

2. Costs

Have you thought about how much adding a new pet would increase your budget costs? Costs like food, vet bills and general new pet expenses should be considered before purchasing a new animal. A good way to find out if you can afford a new pet is doing an internet search for how much a certain type of pet would cost, then add up all your current expenses and see if you can afford to add that new pet to your family.

3. Lifespan

Taking care of a pet is a big commitment. Some pets, like turtles, can live for a very long time. Others, like fish, will have a shorter lifespan. If you are uncertain about your own living situation or where you will be, a pet with a shorter lifespan may be right for you. If you would like a family pet to grow as your children do, then you might want to consider a family pet with a longer lifespan. Other matters to consider include adopting an older animal and figuring out their lifespan versus your current family situation to see if it is the right match or not.

No one can predict the future, but it is assumed that when you adopt a pet, it is for the pet’s life. You should also think of your backup plan in case something were to happen where you cannot take care of the family pet anymore.

4. Family Health and Safety

Some people are allergic to pets, so it is best to make sure that is out of the question before bringing your new family pet into your home. Pet dander can cause allergic reactions and cats and dogs can have a negative effect on some of us humans.

In addition, if you have small children it is important that you choose a family pet that is safe for them too. Some dogs, snakes or other animals might not be the best match and may bite or even possibly attack children. Even “harmless” pets like turtles can spread salmonella, so it is important to do the appropriate research before bringing your new pet home, especially for our family members with compromised immune systems.

A family pet can bring new memories, lots of love, and fun times to your family setting. Doing research on the type of pet you want before bringing it home can make for a happier home for all involved.


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