Choosing the right pet for your family

Is your family considering adopting a pet? Where to start and where to begin on your search is the question. Bringing home a new pet doesn’t affect only one person it affects the whole family.  Everyone should be involved in the process.  Do you have any other pets in your house? Does anyone have allergies? Will someone be around to take care of this pet?

First step in choosing the right pet:

  • How long do pets live…pets are a big responsibility.
  • What kind of pet do you want to own? The First Step maybe to do some research on the average life span of your new family member.
  • Dogs can live 10-15 years
  • Cats can live up to 20 years
  • Horses can live up to 30 years
  • Some birds and reptiles may even out live you and may need to be included in your will.

Next Steps after you choose the type of pet that is suitable for your family. Don’t forget to consider these important factors:

  • Look at your living space – is it too small; do you live in a high-rise or have a back yard that an animal can run and play. You may not want to add a large pet to your family if you live in a small apartment with no outdoor space.
  • Do you have the time to care for this animal – If you choose an aquarium for instance, do you have time to test the water to keep your fish healthy and do you have the knowledge to be a suitable pet owner for fish.
  • Do you have enough room for this animal – Does the animal take up a lot of space or produce and odor that you may want a separate area to house them? For instance, a pet snake my grow to be very large and need an extra big tank or cage for its habitat.
  • Can you and your family give this animal what it needs – Does it need to be walked a lot, need a lot of grooming, or lots of daily chores to do for it? Such as clean it’s cage for a rabbit or keep the environment appropriate for a fish tank
  • Can you afford the cost – Don’t forget about vet cost, food, and other expenses. Pets can be very costly and definitely consider the monthly cost of your pet before choosing the best fit for your family.

Health issues:

  • Keep in mind the activity level of a pet and if you are able to keep up with them.
  • Don’t forget about allergies when choosing your new addition to the family. You don’t want your family to fall in love with your new pet only having to return it later on due to allergies. It is very important to do your research first before you put yourself into that predicament. No one wants to have to return a beloved pet.

Teach your child how to care for the pet:

  • Parents are main caregivers- As a parent even though you want to teach your child how to care for this pet; you need to be prepared to also be the main care giver.
  • Take responsibility – Encourage your child to be part of the process. Ask them to take part in selecting the bed, crate or cage. Talking about how it will need to be walked or taken outside frequently, or if it’s a bird or guinea pig that the cage will need to be cleaned.
  • Group consensus – Picking out names and who is going to be responsible for what duties concerning the animal. I suggest making a pet care calendar. It can show what and who are going to do the daily chores.

The most common pets that families choose are typically dogs and cats. The top 5 best dogs for children are as follows:

  • Beagle- has a happy go lucky, friendly personality.   They love to play and this playful personality is what makes them a great child-friendly dog.
  • Pug- this outgoing dog is a small bread that is great with children. Its small size is great for apartment living and is very loyal.
  • Labrador- this breed is very familiar and has been a favorite in the US for many years.  They are patient by nature, patient with young children and are the most loyal dog you will ever meet.
  • Golden Retriever – This breed is very similar to the lab. They may even have a bit more energy than the lab. Very trainable if done early and can learn over 200 commands. Very good with children and also a loyal dog.
  • Standard Poodle – This breed is very good for a family, especially if there are allergies in the home. They are vey patience, easy to potty train, and highly intelligent. This breed is a family dog instead of a one owner dog. They love to play for hours on end.

5 dogs that may not be the best fit for children are as follows:

  • Dalmatians -These are beautiful dogs but may not be a good fit for small children. They can be easily startled and may bite. Mostly because these breeds are known to go deaf.  Do your research before buying this breed if you have little ones in your home.
  • Chihuahua – This breed is not good for young children. It tends to be a very nervous breed which may nip or bite children.  Because of its small size, many children may tend to treat them like one of their toys, which may not go over well with this breed.
  • Pit-Bull – This dog can be very aggressive. When they bite they go for the throat and don’t let go. Being around small children is not advised.
  • Rottweiler – The years between 1979-1998 this breed held the 2 top breed of fatal bites. This is a breed that can be unpredictable and is not recommended for families with children.
  • Chow Chow – tends to have a quick temper and can be known to be aggressive with small children. Small children may tend to startle this dog especially because it has a long beautiful coat that small hands may want to grab or pull. This dog may not be suitable for families with small children in the home.

Reptiles – you will want to be careful because they produce salmonella. These include but not limited to corn snakes, bearded dragons, geckos and pythons.

Birds –These pets are not bad if you have a cat free home and children just want to watch.

This list does not mean that families should not get a family pet based on this. It is just to make you aware of some breeds that may not be suitable for young children. These breeds may be fine for older children. You will want to research and look into all breeds and pets before deciding on that perfect one. Remember this is 10-20 year comment or more.


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