There is little doubt that there are many benefits to being a pet owner. Pets bring joy to our lives, help keep us healthier and happier, serve as both companions and confidants, and work their way into our hearts and lives.
However, not every family has the time or the lifestyle to meet a pets needs, and deciding whether or not a pet is right for your family is an extremely important decision for your family to make. Here are some things you need to consider before taking home an animal to be part of your family:
- Is your family’s lifestyle such that a pet would fit into that lifestyle? If you are the type of family that is always on the go and rarely home except to sleep, then you need to consider whether or not this is an ideal situation for any pet. While some animals such as dogs need companionship and attention, pets such as fish may not.
However, they still need to have someone available that feeds them and cleans that fish tank. Too many pets fail to survive or thrive because people adopt them when they simply don’t have the time to care for them properly.
- Does your family have their heart set on one specific type of pet or are they open to other options? If your family has it’s heart set on a dog, but there simply isn’t going to be anyone home until late evening to care for it, you are better off to not get a pet. However, if your family simply wants some type of pet, then there are several animals that would be perfect for families who are gone all day and home in the evenings.
Nocturnal pets such as hamsters, chinchillas and many other animals, sleep all day and want to play and bond during the evening hours. This makes them perfect for families who are home in the evenings and want a pet. However, if these type of pets are not what you have your heart set on, feeling like you have to compromise, will only make both you and the pet miserable.
- Can You Afford A Pet? Thousands upon thousands of pets end up in animal shelters and rescues each year because families took on a pet without considering whether they could really afford to care for the pet properly. Besides food, water, and shelter, animals need proper vet care on both a regular and emergency basis.
In addition, certain types of animals have special and expensive dietary needs that may be somewhat more expensive than you are able or willing to pay.
- Who will have the main responsibility for your pets care? Are you as a parent willing and able to take over the complete care of the family pet if the kids lose interest? Many parents get pets for their children thinking if things don’t work out they will just find a new home for the pet.
However, just as having a child means making a commitment to raising that child until they become an adult, making a commitment to an animal should mean that are you are willing to provide it with the proper care, and training for the life of the pet. While there are reasons why people do have to give up their pets, lack of interest should never be one them.
Once you have determined that a pet is right for your family, then you will need to decide which type of pet is best, where you will get the pet from, and how you are going to prepare for the pets arrival. All of these things takes thought and preparation and if the pet is going to be a family pet, it should be a decision that the entire family is involved in.
If you are not sure which might be the best pet for your family, it is always a good idea to make a list of all the relevant information and then talk to your local vet, or the owner of a pet store and see what they recommend. You might also want to visit different types of animals (if you are thinking of a hamster, gerbil, rabbit, or reptile) and see if everyone in the family is comfortable holding it and caring for it.
Doing a bit of research about the special care needs of specific animals you are interested in will also help you to make the right decision.
Pet owners who take the time to learn about and prepare for their pets arrival before they actually bring the pet home, find that both themselves and their pet is happier and their new pet is able to fit into the family much more easily.
Did you take some time before choosing your family pet? Does your pet get on with all the family? Who takes care of your family pet?