Getting a family pet is a big decision. Whether you grew up with pets yourself or have no experience of it all, it is still a daunting prospect. You don’t know what the future holds. Your children may be showing enthusiasm now, but will that last? You may feel like it is the right decision for you personally, but is it really the best choice in the long term? It is an animal after all, and not something you can just pick up and put down as often as you please. However, having a pet in your life can be a wonderful experience, not just for you but for the whole family. It can help children develop new skills and teach them about responsibility. A pet can provide companionship and love like no other. So I thought I would share with you an informative guide to getting a family pet, to help you navigate the ins and outs of pet ownership and the things you may not have thought you might have to consider.

Hound Puppy laying  in the grass

Does a pet fit into your daily life?

One of the first things to consider would be whether or not a pet fits into your daily life and routine. One of the first things to think about would be your job. How long are you away from your home? It isn’t fair to leave an animal on their own for too long without some human interaction, so if it isn’t you, will others be around in your home to help out or take care of the pet? You might also need to think about the family dynamic. The comings and goings of the family members and your general day to day routines. Can a pet fit into that? Of course, there are different types of pets, so some are easier to handle and maintain than others. So it is best to consider all of your options.

Make sure the whole family gets involved

Often children show enthusiasm at the thought of having a pet, and this can quickly die down. While you may not be able to predict exactly how children will react to having a family pet, what you can do is ensure that you have the conversation and meet the levels if expectation before introducing a pet to the fold. You could discuss in advance the roles each family member might take so that it is a collective effort to look after the new addition to the family. You could think about who might walk the dog, for example, who may clear up after pets, such as cat litter trays or rabbit hutches.

Girls walking dogs on the beach

Photo by John Walker

Is your home pet-friendly?

Another question to consider is whether your home is pet-friendly. Do you have an outside space your cat can wander into or your dog to be let out? Is your home big enough to accommodate everything a family pet would need? Most homes are suitable as they are loving environments, but these things do need to be considered. You might also need to think about whether or not you are allowed to have a pet in your home. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you own your own home, but if your property is rented, then you may need to take a quick look at your contract or seek permission from your landlord before introducing a pet to the family.

What about all the things your pet might need?

It’s clear that it isn’t as easy as having a pet introduced and that’s the end of it. Any pet, whether big or small, will require certain things to be purchased. The type of food they need to eat, sleeping arrangements, and even their level of care such as flea and tick treatments for dog and cats. You also need to consider grooming, regular vet visits, as well as entertainment for certain animals like cats and dogs. It isn’t as simple as thinking a pet is ideal for the family, you also need to consider whether your finances can take the added expenditure.

Pets require regular exercise

Cat climbing on outdoor woodpile

A cat will not need to go outside often, if ever, but a dog requires regular exercise. This is through dog walks and runs in open spaces. Can you fit that into your current routine? On the plus side, getting outside more often will do you and your family a world of good. This is one of the major advantages of pet ownership with pets like dogs. However, you may need outside space for cats and other animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Hutches, for example, are not always kept in the home.  Having a safe, outdoor environment for your animals to safely roam, as well as stay at night could be a vital consideration to make.

Think about the health aspect of your new pet

Any pet will require health treatments to keep them in good shape. Cats and dogs are prone to things like fleas and worms. It’s vital to keep these things at bay. You can use different brands that offer treatments through tablets or powders. Thankfully brands like PetAction can help out with that side of things. As we covered earlier, there is more to it than meets the eye and often you really need to think about ensuring that you can afford vet bills and regular maintenance of treatments to keep your pets in tip-top condition with their health.

Consider rehoming a pet

Dog in a cage at the pound

Finally, you could consider rehoming a pet rather than getting a young puppy, kitten or another animal. Often these animals just need the opportunity of a second chance and a loving home and family to take care of them. They can alleviate some of the work as mostly they will be trained, especially when it comes to things like toilet training and obedience. Which means you could enjoy having your new pet from the word go.

I hope this guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes to a family pet.