If you are looking for a way that your family can create shared experiences and make memories together that will last a lifetime, then maybe it is time to consider introducing a pet into your household.
Keeping a pet is, for many people, an indispensible part of the family experience and both children and adults can reap the rewards of pet ownership. For children, owning an animal is an important step to learning about responsibility while adults will enjoy watching their offspring connect and play with their pets.
For families considering bringing a pet into their life there are a number of animals to choose from, and parents need to consider which option is best suited to their home, lifestyle and preferences. Here we take a look at a few of the popular options of household pets and what potential owners will need to be aware of before committing to pet ownership.
Cats as family pets
Cats are a popular choice for families, and can make a rewarding pet for all age groups. Children adore cute kittens and, in the early days, a cat is likely to be fun and playful, so be prepared with cat toys that allow for scratching and climbing. Families should, however, try to remember that as cats grow they like to assert their independence and they should always lead play.
If your cat is going to be allowed outside, you may wish to invest in a cat door for your home as this will prevent you from having to act as a “cat butler” letting your new pet in and out at its demand! Installing one of these nifty flaps can also remove the need for keeping a litter tray within your home, as cats prefer to go outside when given the opportunity.
Getting a dog for your family
Another popular choice of pet for families is the dog. They are wonderful and rewarding animals to bring into the family home, but dogs do require a lot of commitment from their owners. Families should ensure they carry out their research and are prepared to meet their new pet’s needs before they bring home that four-legged friend.
Things to consider when planning for dog ownership include finding the right food for a puppy, planning a schedule that will provide your new pup with enough exercise, and how you will train your dog to ensure that it is able to act appropriately at all times around other people and animals.
If you are interested in the idea of a dog as a family pet it can be a good idea to talk to your local veterinarian who will be able to offer advice on everything from healthy food for dogs to local obedience classes and will help you prepare for the newest (and liveliest!) member of your family.
Small pets for families
If work commitments, lifestyle or living arrangements mean that your family feels unable to commit to keeping a cat or dog, there are still a number of pet possibilities for you to consider – many households begin their journey into animal ownership with one of a selection of smaller pets.
Lots of families opt for pet rodents such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and even rats, all of which can be safely kept caged within the family home – speak to your local pet store for advice on these animals’ feeding, care and habitat needs.
Other popular pets for children include fish – new keepers may wish to stick to cold water varieties as these are the easiest to care for, and children who enjoy keeping fish can progress to more tropical examples as their skill and confidence grows.
Outdoor pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs are a great compromise for parents who are not quite ready to have a pet around the house, owners need to ensure that these animals have suitable housing for the local weather conditions, as well as a safe place to get out and exercise. Parents who choose outdoor animals as a family pet should remember to keep an eye to ensure that children are feeding, watering and cleaning out their pet’s accommodation as required.
Ready to get a pet?
Whichever animal you would like to bring into your home, it is important that the whole family is prepared for the commitment you are making. Educate yourselves on your chosen animal, check details such as vaccination and grooming requirements, purchase the necessary equipment and your family will be all ready to enjoy the joy of animal ownership.