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Did you know that 67% of Americans own a pet? That amounts to around 85 million families!

There’s no doubt that humans love taking animals in and calling them their own. From rabbits to rottweilers, we’re a nation of animal lovers that don’t feel complete until we have a loyal companion by our side.

If you’ve decided it’s time to grow your family by one and get a pet, it’s important you don’t rush into the decision. Remember, you’ll be keeping this animal for as long as it lives and you have a duty to care for all of its needs, so pick wisely.

To help you make the right decision with your pet choices, here’s a guide to choosing the perfect animal for your family.

Get Rid of Preconceived Ideas

When it comes to choosing family-friendly pets, say goodbye to any preconceived ideas about what you want! While you may have always dreamed of owning a greyhound or had your heart set on taking care of a parrot, you need to let that go. When choosing a pet you need to find something that suits your lifestyle and fits in with your family, and that’s often not the animal you first had in mind.

This is never truer than when it comes to dog breeds. If you’re looking for mans best friend, base your choice on the type of dog that suits your family, not the one that you think looks the best. For example, a lot of people get huskies because of their appearance and then give them up when they realize they’re a really high maintenance dog, which isn’t fair on the pup at all!

Think of Costs

Every pet is going to incur some kind of expense, but some will be a lot pricier to look after than others. Hamsters, for example, are super cheap to take care of. They don’t cost much to buy, their cages and equipment are very budget-friendly, and the cost of care is minimal throughout their life.

Horses, on the other hand, are incredibly expensive to look after (surprise, surprise!). Make sure you look into how much it’ll cost to look after your top pet choices and see which fit into your monthly budget before making your decision. It’s always a smart idea to invest in pet insurance, too, to prevent any big vets bills.

How Long Will They Live For?

When choosing the best pets for families, think about how long you’ll be looking after this animal. If you have plans to move abroad in the next few years, for example, it’s best to opt for a pet with a shorter lifespan, like a gerbil or hamster. If you want a pet to keep you company when your kids move away, choose something with a longer lifespan, like a turtle which can live for around 30 years!

Can You Look After Them?

We spoke a little about this in preconceived ideas (and why you shouldn’t have them) but let’s take a closer look. Every pet is going to take a different level of care to look after, and it’s vital you know what they’ll need before you take them home. You can get a good idea of what a dog may need by looking at its history. For example, Perro de Presa Canario are traditionally working cattle dogs. This means they’re going to be incredibly clever and enjoy being active, meaning that you’ll have to invest a lot of time into keeping them happy. If you’re looking for a more chilled out dog, something like a poodle or a beagle might be better for you!

If you’re looking at a dog vs cat for your family, how much you can look after them should be a deciding factor. Cats are much easier to take care of and can be left for long periods on their own (as long as someone visits to give them food and water) while dogs need far more companionship, playtime, and daily walks. If you don’t want that kind of commitment, get a cat.

Whatever animal you’re thinking of getting, make sure you look up their basic needs before getting them. If you don’t think you have the time, expertise, or patience, don’t get it.

Pets For Small Children

Not all pets are suited for small children, and if you have little ones in your home you’ll have to be careful what you choose. Animals in cages and hutches that are low maintenance, like rabbits, are great to have around kids. Whereas animals that live freely in the home with you, like cats and dogs, can be more difficult.

Do some research into which breeds are best around children. If you’re buying an older pet, make sure you’ve introduced them to your little ones before you take them home and check with the current owner that they don’t have any problems with children. Then, make sure you teach your kids how to behave around the pet (no yanking tails or sudden grabbing!) for a successful integration.

Look For Rescue Animals

There are tons of pets out there looking for new homes, so rather than hunting down a specific breed through a breeder, be more open-minded and head to a rescue center. Here, staff can help you find the best pets for families with their knowledge of breeds as well as individual personalities. You’ll come home with a pet that suits your lifestyle and is in need of a good home, making it a win-win.

Narrow Down Your Pet Choices

Now that you’ve got a list to refer to, you can narrow down your pet choices. Remember, the most important thing when choosing a pet is knowing you can give it a loving home for the rest of its life, and if you don’t think you can then leave it for someone else. You can always foster rescue animals instead!

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out more animal blogs and more on our website.