A Helpful Guide To Choosing A Child-Friendly Pet

A pet can be a wonderful addition to family life.  We have two dogs and they are an absolute joy.  If you’re thinking about having a dog, you should read my post ‘Is Owning a Dog for You?’.  Children can learn so much from living with and looking after a pet.  Not only does it provide them with companionship but having a family pet also teaches them about responsibility and develops their empathy and a sense of caring. 

Choosing the right pet for your family is very important, it’s never a good idea to buy a pet on impulse, you need to think through what would work best for your family.  I hope this helps.

Dogs

I love dogs and so do about eight and half million other dog owners in this country, but they’re not for everyone.  As I’ve discussed before, you need to consider cost, feeding and vets bills can be very expensive, time, some breeds need a lot of exercise and space, big dogs in small flats with small children are not a good idea.  The cheapest way to acquire a dog is usually to go to a rescue centre but you need to be aware that these dogs may have been ill-treated in the past and consequently, they may not be a good companion for small children.  Having said that, there are plenty of cross-breed rescue dogs that are delightful and a cross-breed is likely to suffer from fewer health problems than a pedigree.  If you are going for a pedigree, the following two breeds are excellent choices.  A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy will set you back something between £500 and £1500 but what you’ll get is a delightfully sweet natured and gentle dog that loves to play.  A Labrador Retriever puppy will be slightly cheaper, and you’ll get a sociable, playful and patient dog.

Cats

Cats are less of a commitment.  They’ll look after themselves and they don’t need exercise but not all breeds liked to be stroked and handled and with small children, it’s important you choose a calm cat.  As with dogs, you may find a cross-breed that is right for your family but if you’re choosing a pedigree, Birman, Ragdoll and Himalayan are all affectionate child-friendly breeds.  These pedigree breeds will cost you round about £500, with cross breeds considerably cheaper.

Rabbits

Rabbits kept in tiny cages make me sad.  They are intelligent, sociable animals and they need space to run about.  They don’t make a noise, they are inexpensive, and they look so cute, your children will love them.  A word of warning though, if you are going to let your rabbit roam the house, they like nothing better than to chew the odd cable.  You can find the best breeds for kids here.

Hamsters

A great starter pet and their antics are endlessly entertaining.  They don’t always like to be handled and they do nip, so choose with care.

Mice

Mice are lovely first pets.  They are very cheap to buy and set up and with careful handling, they will become delightfully tame.

Regardless of which pet you decide is right for your family, it’s always a good idea to look into pet insurance.  Of course, vet’s bills for cats and dogs are going to be much higher than for a mouse or a hamster, but your pet is part of the family and you don’t want to be caught off guard.  You can easily compare insurance online to find out the best deal.

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