Choosing the right pet for your family

Owning a pet can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for any family. Pets can help teach children important ideas like responsibility and commitment, as well as give them a friend to grow and play with. Choosing a pet for your family should be a careful process, as pets’ needs vary widely. Here are a few things to consider before you start researching animals:

 

  • Commitment
    All pets - no matter which you choose - will need some sort of care and maintenance. Before you decide to care for a pet, take the time to understand just how much work it will be to care for. 
  • Lifestyle
    Are you an active family? Do you travel often? Whatever pet you choose should fit into the way you live. That way, both you and your pet have the best chance of being happy together.
  • Safety
    With children at home, one should always consider what pets are safe to have in the house at their age. Think about what spaces the pet will occupy, and whether they will need supervision around your children.
    • Costs
      Every pet’s gotta eat. But pet costs are more than just food, shelter, toys, and grooming.  Sometimes, pets need emergency care and depending on the issue bills can rise up into the thousands. If you plan to adopt a pet, be sure you can afford sudden trips to the vet. 
  • Adoption
    Before you head to a pet store, please consider adopting from a rescue or shelter. There are so many incredible animals at rescues, and some even care for specific animals and breeds if you have one in mind.

Carefully consider the kind of commitment you are prepared for, some pets live relatively short lives while others can live for decades. Once you’ve gotten a sense of your lifestyle, you can start to figure out which pet is right for your family. 

  • Dog

    Dogs are one of the most challenging yet rewarding pets a family can have. They are very social, require lots of attention, and have life spans that last over a decade. Dogs have so many different personalities, pay special attention to researching a breed that fits with your lifestyle.

    Young and/or energetic dogs won’t be happy sitting around all day. If you don’t think someone will be available often to give the dog some exercise, consider heading to a shelter and adopting an older dog. In many cases, older dogs are already house-trained, comfortable around children and adults, and require much less exercise on a daily basis. 
  • Cat

    Cats can be a great option for families who are looking for a lower-maintenance pet with a great personality. Cats still need care - grooming, regular vet visits, etc - but need far less attention and exercise than dogs. As always, do your research. Some cat breeds are very affectionate, others are more aloof and self-sufficient. 
  • Bird

    Birds are such beautiful creatures, and can make surprisingly good companions as pets. Birds can have life spans lasting several decades, and some breeds even respond well to training. Before taking home a bird, know your spaces. Birds should have access to a decent amount of space to move around during the day. Birds are also quite messy, and produce a lot of noise.

    While those are some of the most popular pets, there are plenty more to choose from. Many families have found friends in fish, rabbits, reptiles, and even rodents

Whatever pet you choose, always remember that pets can have a meaningful impact on any family. Kids often find a best friend and adventure partner in their pet, and cherish that friendship for as long as they can. Pets can also help a child’s development by reducing anxiety and building companionship skills. With the pandemic still ongoing and many kids lacking their typical amount of exercise and socialization, a pet can be a great way to keep your child happy and healthy through this time.