Having a pet can be one of the great joys of family life. A pet can help to bond a family, make a family laugh and even keep a family fit. But families and animals don’t always mix and the combination can end in tragedy, so it is vital that you choose the right pet for your family.
Where to go
Quite apart from the dangers posed to your family, owning an unsuitable pet can have huge financial implications.
Take a golden retriever dog for instance, often considered the quintessential family pooch, the animal can cost upwards of £300 from a certified Kennel Club breeder. On top of this you have to keep it fed and watered.
If you’re set on a pedigree pet, you might be able to snap up top stock at an animal shelter, where they have pets for adoption. However, if bragging rights about the breed of your pet aren’t important to you, then an animal with mixed roots is a great option.
Mixed breeds tend to be much less expensive than their pedigree counterparts and often don´t suffer ailments particular to certain breeds.
Rescue dogs are often a perfect option for you – We went down this route with Barney – he is a rescued mixed breed dog. He is a Border Collie cross, now we don’t know for sure what he is crossed with but suspect it is spaniel. He rehoused Barney when he was around 6 months old after he was left tied up to a bus stop the week before Christmas.
He was skin and bones but other than that he was in excellent condition and even house trained. That was 11 years ago now – he has been the best friend we could ever have and usually comes everywhere we go. He even helps to look after the kids – nudging me away if the kids wake in the night and I’ve not heard them.
Weighing up the options
There are a number of places that you can go to ask for advice about getting the right pet for your family. You could try an animal shelter or a pet store. These types of places have trained staff who should be able to point you the right direction of a suitable pet.
There are also a few questions you can ask yourself when trying to deduce your ideal family pet:
- How big is your home?
The size of your home can have a huge bearing on the type of animal that would suit your family. If you’ve got a big family home with a big garden then your pet options are quite broad; however, if your house is quite small then you may be limited to compact low energy animals, such as tortoises, gold fish and a lap dogs.
How old are your children?
Young children are very inquisitive but quite unable to handle themselves in a physical confrontation with a powerful animal. This being the case, if you have toddlers or babies it’s best to steer clear of certain breeds of dog, such as Weimaraners, Rottweiler’s and Akitas. However, these breeds could be just right for older children who enjoy running around and being active.
How much time do you have to spare?
The driving force behind getting an animal may be your children. However, in all likelihood, as the adult you’re the one who’s going to be looking after the family pet. Try to get something that you’ll be able to give the right care, attention and exercise. If you’ve not got a lot of time on your hands then it is best to go for a low maintenance animal, otherwise it could end up like some of these rather out of shape pets.
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