Friday, December 20, 2019

Choosing the Right Family Pet

A pet can make a wonderful addition to the family but it’s important to choose the right animal. All pets require some level of care, although some have more needs than others. With the right research, you'll find it easy to pick the right pet for your family.

For inspiration, take a look at these top tips for choosing the right family pet…

1. Consider their needs

First and foremost, think about what your pet is going to need from you. High energy dogs, like a sheepdog, silver lab, or a yorkie, are going to require lots of walking and stimulation, while a bulldog or a St Bernard is likely to be a little lazier.

If you’re out of the house all day, a dog may not be the best option. Instead, consider an independent cat breed, like a Persian or British Shorthair. While they’ll still need attention and care, their independent nature will mean they’ll cope just fine while you’re at work and school.

2. How old are your children?

If you have children, the right family pet might depend on their ages. Toddlers are always keen to play with pets, but a boisterous youngster and a tentative pet won’t mix well. What’s more, you’ll have your work cut out caring for an infant while trying to train a puppy or kitten.

Hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits can make great pets for younger children, as play can easily be supervised. In addition to this, cleaning their cages and caring for them teaches children how to look after animals.

3. Think about your lifestyle

If you enjoy regular holidays or spontaneous last-minute breaks, a full-time pet might be a little difficult to manage. Similarly, if you spend your weekends at the movies, shopping and with friends, a dog might not fit into your lifestyle.

Choosing a social animal as a family pet means they need companionship and stimulation, so you’ll need to ensure you can dedicate enough time to being at home. Alternatively, you can include your pet in your family outings and simply choose dog or cat-friendly destinations to visit.

4. Consider allergies

People don’t always realize they have an allergy to an animal until they get their first pet. Of course, this can lead to a lot of heartache for everyone involved, so it’s best to identify any allergies or triggers before you bring your new pet home.

Make sure all members of the family spend some time around whatever type of animal you’re considering getting as a pet. Remember – having a pet in your own home means any allergic reactions can be intensified, so look out for sneezing, itching or congestion.

5. Check the cost

Owning a pet can be expensive, so it’s best to be prepared. Having pet insurance can alleviate some of the medical bills you might encounter but there are certain treatments that won’t usually be covered by your insurer.

In addition to this, you’ll need to factor in the cost of food, grooming and, of course, plenty of toys for them to play with.

6. Spend time with other pets

If other family members or friends have pets, ask if you can spend some time with them. The reality of pet ownership can be trickier than people imagine, so looking after a pet for an extended period of time will give you an insight into what it’s really like.

If you don’t know anyone with a pet, there are plenty of pet babysitting services you can sign up for. Alternatively, spend time volunteering at a shelter or animal charity and get some hands-on experience caring for the animals which could become a permanent addition to your family.

Welcoming a pet into your family

When you’ve weighed all the pros and cons and gained experience around your potential new pet, it’s finally time to welcome them into the family. Whether you’ve chosen a dog, cat, parrot or goldfish, this is an exciting time for kids and grown-ups alike.

For animals, however, moving to a new environment and meeting lots of new people can be intimidating. To make the transition a little easier, make sure your pet has easy access to all the essentials they need. Also, give them somewhere quiet they can retreat to if they’re feeling nervous or scared.

Having a pet join your clan can be wonderful for your family but it’s important to get it right. With the right research and preparation, you can be sure that your new addition will have found his or her forever home.

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