Having a family pet sounds like an exciting idea – going for walks in the park, playing with them, and cuddling. However, there is a ton of responsibilities that come with keeping a pet. Whether or not you should take in a furry friend as a new family member can be a tough decision to make, especially when children are involved.
Many families are faced with this dilemma. It’s no surprise, because it’s not only fun and games, it also requires patience, responsibility, support, and effort from all family members. So, before you make your decision, ask yourself these questions first:
Are my children comfortable around animals?
You need to make sure your children do not have a fear of animals and are completely comfortable around them. You may think that getting a pet and having an animal, whether a dog or a cat, live under the same roof may help rid your child of the fear of animals; but this is not always the case. If your child is not comfortable, they are more likely to be anxious around them which could lead to trouble.
So, before getting a pet, make sure your child is comfortable around animals. Get them acquainted with other people’s pets first or take them to a shelter regularly.
Does any family member have pet allergies?
Many people are allergic to pets, especially to cats and dogs. In fact, about 15% of the US population has this allergy. So before getting a pet, make sure that none of your family members have any kind of pet allergy. Make sure to get everyone tested for allergies before deciding to let a furry friend enter your home.
Do we, as a family, have the time to truly care for a pet?
When you have a pet, you need to commit time to care for it. You need to treat your pet as part of the family. Just like any family member, they need to be loved and cared for, and they need your attention. Also, you need to spend a significant amount of time to train them so that they can adapt to being a proper house pet. So make sure that at least one adult has the free time they can devote to the pet, or each family member can take turns.
Are my children responsible enough for a pet?
When kids are in the picture, having a pet means that they should also be responsible enough to take care of them. You can teach your kids to be responsible if it is their first time with a pet. Simple tasks like feeding the pets regularly and even bathing them are great for teaching kids responsibility.
If you feel that you meet all the requirements that we have discussed above – your children are comfortable and responsible, no one has pet allergies, and that you have time for a pet – then go ahead and get a new addition to the family.