Is your family ready for a pet?

Is your family ready for a pet?

A pet can be a great addition to your family. However a pet can also be a big commitment, and a big responsibility that all members of the family should be prepared to deal with. Entirely too many pets get sent to the animal shelters because they were brought home by a family that wasn’t fully prepared for everything that is required to take care of a pet for its lifetime.

Give some thought to the schedule that your family keeps. A family that is constantly on the go and constantly traveling will provide a less than ideal home for a pet. If you spend long hours at work, and spend a lot of time taking the kids to ballet or soccer, you may just find that your new pet is spending a lot of time alone. While dogs and cats typically don’t require around the clock company, with excessive time spent alone and a clear lack of socialization, this could lead to destructive behavior as a result of boredom.

Pets do need plenty of exercise in order to keep them healthy. Cats are a great addition to a family that perhaps isn’t up for daily walks and hikes to the dog park. Taking your dog for a nice long walk each day or letting him run at the park will help him to burn up his pent-up energy, and also keep him healthy and fit.

Give some thought to your family’s situation right now. Do you have a home with a yard? A yard isn’t a necessity for owning a dog, but it does make letting your dog out at 3 AM a lot easier. Do you have the financial means to care for a dog? When the costs of veterinary care are considered, many find that they simply can’t afford to keep their pet healthy. Does your family have small children? Small children and young animals typically do not mix well together as both are capable of injuring the other. An older family-friendly dog is the better choice, or you could wait until the children are at a suitable age where they can help to care for the dog.

Remember that getting a pet for the kids is never a good idea, because it is the parents who will wind up doing the majority of the care for the pet. Think carefully about your lifestyle, your activity level, your financial situation, and your willingness to take on the responsibilities of another member of your household. Having a pet can be incredibly rewarding, but it is a big responsibility that should always be considered carefully.

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