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How to Choose a Family Pet

Image via Pixabay

What does every family home need? A TV? A subscription to Netflix? A well-stocked library? No. Although all of those things may be good in their own right (the library definitely outranks the TV, though, just for the record), the real answer is a pet. Pets not only provide us with companionship and affection when times get tough, but they also teach children something about responsibility and help contribute a sense of fun and life to a home. Here’s a straightforward set of questions to help you make up your mind when choosing a family pet.

How high-maintenance do you want your pet to be?

Animals like dogs will naturally be very reliant on their owners for everything from food to exercise, to affection, attention, grooming, and all the rest. That’s why companies like are in business. A cat, on the other hand, is liable to do its own thing for most of the time — roaming the neighborhood as it likes — and only purring at you when it’s decided it wants a snack. A big part of deciding which pet is right for your family is working out how high-maintenance you’d like the pet to be. If you want a pet to dote on around the clock, you’ll be looking at a different set of options than if you want a pet that can be left alone most of the time.

How much space do you have available?

A small, cage-bound rodent like a hamster or gerbil will be just as happy in his cage in a small apartment or in an immense and illustrious mansion. A large dog like a St Bernard or Great Dane, on the other hand, needs its space, and may drive you and itself crazy if confined to a small indoors area. To be a conscientious pet owner you need to know how much space your animal needs, and then provide it for them.

What do you want the pet for?

If the primary reason you want your pet is for the basic enjoyment of watching them get up to their daily activities, a goldfish or pet lizard might just do the job well enough. If, on the other hand, you’re after an energetic animal that your kids can run and play with in the garden, a feisty dog breed like a Jack Russell terrier might be the best choice. Then again, maybe you want a gentle, soothing animal for your shy child? How about a rabbit or a guinea pig? Before deciding on what animal to buy you must get it clear in your own head what you want the pet for.

Does anyone in your family have pet allergies?

Some people are allergic to dust, while others are allergic to cats and dogs. If you’re one of those people, then don’t panic. You can still have pet — it’ll just take a little extra planning. Well-known examples of hypoallergenic animals include things like rabbits and hamsters, while some dog breeds such as poodles also fit in the box.

Whatever pet you decide is right for your family, just be sure you put some thought into it ahead of time. Never owning a pet, would be better than getting one for a week or two and having to re-home it.


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