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Before buying a family pet

 
Your kids may beg and beg for a family pet for Christmas, their birthday or just because, but it is a major commitment which needs some thought beforehand, particularly around the responsibility, suitability and cost of owning one. Here are some things to think about before buying a pet.
Your kids may beg and beg for a family pet for Christmas, their birthday or just because, but it is a major commitment which needs some thought beforehand, particularly around the responsibility, suitability and cost of owning one.

If your little one asks for a pet, bear in mind that it may be a passing phase. Don't rush to the pet shop straight away.

Wait for sustained interest and repeated requests before seriously considering buying a family pet.

Here are some things to think about before buying a family pet:
 

Responsibility

Family pets teach children how to love and care for animals, as well as teaching them about responsibility and about life and death.

You may think that the responsibility would be good for them, but you still need to remember that it’s very likely that you will be the one looking after it full time.

Children have short attention spans and can be both fickle and forgetful when it comes to pets, so you need to ensure that you have the time and energy to feed, water, clean and exercise them before making a purchase.

You may be buying a pet for the kids to take care of, but ultimately you as an adult will need to accept overall responsibility. Is that something you want to do?
 

Suitability

There are so many different pet options available so it’s worth doing some research before you go out and buy one to make sure they’re completely suitable for your family.

It is also vitally important that your children will be as safe as possible around the pet you choose.

Think about how a pet will fit with your children and your lifestyle. Does the whole family want the same type of pet or are there differences you need to overcome or pet allergies to think about?

If your chosen pet requires warm, quiet conditions and you can only offer a cold, draughty spot outside you should probably have a rethink.

If your pet needs lots of space will your backyard be fully fenced and big enough to accommodate them?

Is the pet appropriate for your children’s age? A crazy toddler and a timid puppy may be a bad combination!

Think about the future too. How long will the pet live for? Your children may love and look after their pet now, but what happens when they leave home? Will the pet still be around then?
 

Affordability

Don't underestimate the cost of owning a pet!

Think about the unavoidable trips to the vet for vaccinations, basic daily needs such as bedding, food, water, exercise and grooming.

Find out if it’s worth taking out pet insurance to cover those unexpected bills.

Plus think about whether they will need to be put them into a cattery or kennels whilst you’re on holiday.

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