Choosing the right pet for your family may seem like a daunting task. There are many things you should consider. First would be your lifestyle. If you are a busy, active family that wants a companion that can go with you there are a lot of dog breeds that could be the right fit. I like using information from the American Kennel Club or a Dog-A-Logue style reference to point you in the right direction. For example, herding breeds or terriers are active but not always the best around young children. Researching pure bred dogs’ personalities will give you a jumping off point in your search. If you like to come home and snuggle on the couch after a long day instead of play ball, a cat might be more your speed. Cats don’t require as much attention as most dogs do since they don’t need regular walks. They also might fit in with your family better if you like to travel, unlike birds or dogs.
Mutts are some of the very best dogs on the market, they can have the best of two worlds (or more.) Humane Societies are great places to shop at times, even over breeders. To find a purebred breeder that is breeding for the love of a breed is wonderful, but supporting a pet store or puppy mill is never a good idea. You aren’t rescuing a dog by going to those places; and sadly you are just buying the problems of overbreeding or poor breeding standards. They make their money and you must come up with money for hip surgeries or eyelid repairs and many more problems. If you are looking for a golden retriever because they are the perfect breed for you, go find a decent breeder who has had their dogs regularly vet checked and certified. Please be willing to research, not impulse buy and you will thank me later. Kittens especially are found all over in humane societies and rescues. I try to do my part by neutering at our local shelter. My barn cats are all healthy, neutered strays. A healthy stray cat will appreciate a loving home.
Alternative pets can be excellent for families. Consider a pocket pet as a good starter pet before the commitment of a dog or cat for children. Guinea pigs can be a friendly, interactive pet that a child can care for and learn responsibility from. These starter pets don’t live to be 20 years old or more. Another thing to consider is that not all small pets are just short term. Consider that a box turtle for your elementary-aged child is likely going to be going to college with them due to life expectancy. Same goes for birds, as they also have very long lifespans. All pets you consider should be and deserve to be loved all their lives- not just until you are tired of them. Veterinarians can provide you with information and helpful suggestions if you have a relationship with them. Finding the right fit is fun for us. When a pet is loved, and cared for, we get to build a relationship with you both. That is truly my end goal- happy families with happy, healthy pets.