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Pick the Right Pet for Your Family

Updated on June 15, 2011

Pets can be a wonderful addition to any family! Whether it be tropical fish, a gerbil, a ferret, or the more traditional choice of a dog or a cat, a pet can be just like another member of the family. But before you run out to purchase a pet, take time to think about what pet is right for your family.

Before your family gets a pet, you should consider why the family members want a pet. Is the pet primarily going to be a companion for the kids, or perhaps dad wants a pet that can go out hunting or hiking with him? Or maybe mom wants a pet so others can take care of it and learn a sense of responsiblity. Most likely different family members have different reasons for getting a pet. If your famly talks about why they want a pet, you will get a better idea about what is the right pet for your family.


Environment is also important to think about when a family considers adding a pet to the household. How much space will the animal need? For example, a small canary may be content with living in a relatively small cage, but a larger bird, like a parrot, requires a bigger cage and may need to fly around outside of its cage. Similarly, a cat may be happy basically living in the house, but a dog, especially larger breeds, will long to be outside.

Also, remember if your family lives in an apartment, you need to check with your landlord about the pet policy. Many facilities do not allow pets, while others only allow small pets.

One of the most important factors in choosing a pet is to think about life expectancy of the animal. A pup you get your children as a gift when they are young may quite possibly end up living with you and your spouse after your children have grown up and moved out. Then the animal may solely be your responsibility. You may love the puppy now, but when it's a dog ten years from now, are you still going to be willing to see to its needs?


A dog can be a great companion
A dog can be a great companion

Family members also need to discuss who will be taking care of the pet. Perhaps everyone will take part, or if there are very young children in the family, parents may be left with most of the responsibility of caring for the animal. Family members should plan out who is going to be responsible for the care of the pet, so there are no misunderstandings once the pet is brought home.

Different types of pets require different time commitments for care. Small animals and fish require far less time than a cat, for example. On the other hand, a larger animal like a dog probably will require more time because it will need exercise. The amount of time the pet will require is an important consideration when choosing an animal for your family.

For more information on picking pets see:

Environment is also important to think about when a family considers adding a pet to the household. How much space will the animal need? For example, a small canary may be content with living in a relatively small cage, but a larger bird, like a parrot, requires a bigger cage and may need to fly around outside of its cage. Similarly, a cat may be happy basically living in the house, but a dog, especially larger breeds, will long to be outside.

Also, remember if your family lives in an apartment, you need to check with your landlord about the pet policy. Many facilities do not allow pets, while others only allow small pets.

One of the most important factors in choosing a pet is to think about life expectancy of the animal. A pup you get your children as a gift when they are young may quite possibly end up living with you and your spouse after your children have grown up and moved out. Then the animal may solely be your responsibility. You may love the puppy now, but when it's a dog ten years from now, are you still going to be willing to see to its needs?

Finally, as your family considers getting a pet, think about adopting an animal from a shelter. Each year many shelter animals are destroyed because someone did not take time to consider whether a particular animal was right for their family, and then the animal ends up at a shelter. But often a shelter animal can become a great family companion if the family recognizes the needs of the animal and the animal fits into family's lifestyle.

Pets add so much to our lives. They provide companionship and can fill our lives with joy. Pets trust us, so be responsible and make sure your family chooses a pet that fits well with your lifestyle!

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