A family pet is a great way to teach the kids some of the most important life lessons they can learn. How to look after and be responsible for something else, how to respect other people and animals and, of course, how to deal with loss. Whether you are replacing a much-loved pet or venturing into new territory, there are four things you need to consider when choosing the next member of your family.
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If you are a cat person or a dog person, the choice is already made for you and you won’t consider anything else. However, if you are selecting a pet for the first time, or adding to a growing menagerie, it is important to consider exactly what type of animal you want.
A cat is a huge commitment and could live for up to two decades while a dog has a much shorter lifespan. Of course, a cat is more independent whereas a dog requires daily walking and training.
If you want a smaller commitment, children can get a lot of enjoyment out of keeping rodents for pets. A rabbit, for example, doesn’t require a huge financial commitment and gives them the opportunity to learn to look after something else. The other advantage of a rabbit is that it is an interactive pet and will let you hold, stroke and brush it. Rats too make fantastic pets as they can learn tricks and even display individual characters. The traditional pet, a hamster, is not always the best option since this nocturnal critter is not likely to want to play during the day.
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2. What Size?
Size is a big consideration when you are looking at dogs for sale. This type of pet has the biggest variation in sizes across different breeds. If you have a large house and garden, a big dog might be the best choice. Larger breeds like Great Danes typically need a lot less walking than the smaller breeds like Spaniels or Whippets. On the other hand, a medium sized dog is great for a townhouse and younger children but will need more of a time investment in walking and playing.
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The temperament you need from your pet will also be a big factor in what you choose. There are traditionally a variety of dog breeds known for docility that make fantastic choices for family pets. Similarly, some rabbit breeds are more suitable for handling by children than others.
Cats can be a difficult pet to choose since temperament varies so dramatically between individuals. Buying a kitten and making sure that it is socialised properly and not subjected to any traumas ought to ensure your cat is happy to interact with the kids.
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The amount of free time you have, how often someone is in the house and how old the kids are will all have a bearing on the type of pet that is best suited to you. A dog needs a serious investment in training and won’t like being left for eighteen hours a day whilst a cat is happy doing its own thing. Rodents also require minimum investments of time and are happy left in someone else’s care while you are on holiday or out of town.