Finding a pet when there are children involved can be quite a challenge. Some pets, including dogs, cats and hamsters, can be fragile or even have tempers not compatible with young ones. Companion animals for a family are quite common, though, and bring a lot of joy to everyone in the house, whether young or old.
Once the choice to get a pet has been made, it is critical to choose that one specific animal that will be a perfect fit.
Some of the most common pets that families look at are as follows:
- Hamsters and Guinea Pigs
Now, how is the choice of which kind of animal made? Look at the below guidelines to see just how much time, money and effort each of the above types of pets will require.
Choosing The Best Pet When There Are Children Involved
When a dog is chosen to be the family companion, prepare for a great deal of time and money to be spent. The proper care of this type of animal requires its owners to be in the home for regular feedings and daily exercise. Dogs are social creatures, as well, and need to be entertained and have interaction with its human family often.
Each and every dog is different and special, which means that a sincere effort to learn the needs of the particular animal chosen is critical to its happiness and health. There are some dogs that require a great deal of strenuous, aerobic exercise through activities like running after sticks, chasing balls, and catching Frisbees.
Other breeds of dog can benefit just as much from casual walks through the park. It is up to the owner to determine what kinds of activities are right for their family pet.
On the monetary side, a dog as a pet will certainly be a large expense. Not only will the family have the daily necessities, like food and treats, to purchase, but there will also be the yearly veterinary bills and all the medications to treat or prevent heartworms, fleas, ticks and other possible ailments.
Grooming may also be a factor when a dog becomes part of the family, as several breeds require professional grooming services in addition to regular daily brushing. Make sure there is room in the budget when a dog is chosen to be the family companion.
Read more: 5 Perfect Dog Types For Different Owner Needs
When a cat is chosen to be the family companion, the owner will have a bit of a break on the time required. A cat does enjoy its time alone! However, a cat may be just as content when surrounded by its human family, too, since cats are social creatures. Different breeds of cats have different temperaments, so research on cat breeds should be done well in advance of purchasing the family pet.
As with other pets, a cat will require its family to provide food, water, exercise, shelter and attention. Some cats need more activity than others, so efforts need to be made by its human family to determine how much activity is needed for a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Toy mice and lattice balls are wonderful toy choices when a cat is adopted into the family, as they can provide enjoyment for both the cat and its humans.
On the monetary side, a cat as a pet will surely be a large expense. There are the daily needs of a cat, such as food and treats, but there are also veterinary bills and all the medications needed to prevent feline ailments. Flea and tick treatments will also add up over the year. The necessary moneys should be available in the budget when a cat becomes the family companion.
One thing is definite – a cat that is kept indoors may live twice as long as a cat living outside. When choosing a cat, make sure it has a place in the home that is all its own.
Read more: Is Your Cat In Pain? Important Signs To Look For
When a rabbit is chosen to be the family companion, the owner will need to take note of the special care this type of animal requires. Handling can be a scary experience for a rabbit, and dropping or squeezing a rabbit can cause serious injury.
This means that when this kind of pet is chosen, it should only be handled by the older children and adults of the family, who understand the rabbit’s special care requirements. Younger children can add to a rabbit’s life through petting!
Again, like with other pets, a rabbit will need to be given food, water, exercise, shelter and attention. Its home environment needs to be large enough to accommodate some variety of litter box, as well, since rabbits are tidy animals. A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing, either, so special attention needs to be given by its family to provide it with numerous things to chew, including Timothy hay.
On the monetary side, a rabbit can be a rather large expense that will need to be planned for. The daily needs of a rabbit, such as food and treats, will add up.
In addition to these costs are the veterinary bills and any medications that will be needed for prevention of rabbit ailments. Make sure there is room in the family budget for this type of animal before purchasing one.
Hamsters And Guinea Pigs
When a hamster or guinea pig is chosen to be the family companion, the owner will have a relatively easy time. While being an absolute joy to own, this kind of pet is relatively simple to care for. It is not unusual to find this type of pet in families where space is limited.
These types of animals need to be handled carefully, however, so older children and adults of the family should be the primary care givers. Squeezing or dropping of a hamster or guinea pig can injure this type of pet seriously.
Exercise for this type of pet can be done in many ways. Exercise balls and wheels have been created so that a hamster or a guinea pig can be active while still confined. A pet like this can also be allowed to roam in an open area of a room, so long as it remains supervised and that it cannot escape and hide indefinitely.
On the monetary side, a hamster or guinea pig may be the perfect choice for a family with limited resources. There are still the everyday costs of food and treats, but veterinary costs can be much less with smaller mammals. A yearly check up with the vet is always recommended and all prescribed medications should be purchased and provided.
One thing to remember about these types of creatures, sometimes called “rodents”, are that they are nocturnal. All this means is that they become active at night. Sometimes their sleeping and waking schedules can be altered to mimic their human family’s schedule, but this depends on when their surroundings are most active.
Read more: Caring For A Guinea Pig Without A Vet
When a bird is chosen to be the family companion, the owner needs to take special care of its living environment. Since a bird will spend the majority of its life in the bird cage purchased for it, how large the bird will get needs to be taken into consideration.
Its living area, food and water should remain clean, which will take time and effort on the part of its human family. If a bird’s environment is left to itself, without proper maintenance, it is likely that the bird will become ill and veterinary bills will be much higher than necessary.
Birds of all kinds are fragile, so handling them needs to be done with care. When a bird is a pet, the majority of the holding should be done by the adults and older children found in its human family. Squeezing a bird can cause serious injury, while dropping a bird can actually lead to its escape. A bird should have a living area away from drafts, as colds are a common ailment of this kind of pet.
On the monetary side, a bird is relatively inexpensive. After the initial investment of purchasing the bird chosen and its cage, there will be the everyday costs of food and treats.
Most bird owners do take their family pet to the veterinarian each and every year for check ups and there are medications that may be necessary. Keep this in mind, as money should be set aside in the family budget for a bird’s care.
Read more: How To Care For Finches
When a fish is chosen to be the family companion, the owner is choosing the simplest and cheapest family pet to take care of. Swimming in the tank environment offers the fish enough exercise and, normally, fish are solitary and provide themselves with entertainment. Watch to see if the fish chosen interacts when humans walk by its tank, as a bit more attention will need to be taken with this pet.
Time is really all that is necessary with this family pet. A fish will need a clean tank environment at all times. To stay healthy and happy, maintenance of its living environment and feeding are the keys. Overfeeding a fish is quite common, which can actually lead to death, so following strict feeding guidelines is a must.
On the monetary side, a fish is the perfect family pet for those with very little in their budget for an animal. The initial investment of the fish, tank, and any tank accessories required will be the only major expense. Daily food costs will be all that is necessary with this type of pet, as fish rarely are taken to the veterinarian.
Although not discussed under each individual animal, an important consideration when choosing the family pet will be the animal’s life span. Fish have much shorter life spans than dogs, while cats and dogs live about the same length of time. With young children, attachment is sure to occur, so finding a pet with a longer life span may be beneficial for them.
No matter what, choosing a pet when children are involved is a big decision. It is one not to be taken lightly. When the animal is brought into the home, it is essentially another family member and should be treated as such.
Read more: The Comprehensive Pet Emergency Preparedness Plan