If you’re thinking about getting a new (furry) addition to the family, but you aren’t at all sure whether the time is right, check out these sure signs that your family is ready for the responsibility:
Many parents think that they'll be able to cure their kid(s) of a fear of dogs, for example, by introducing a new puppy into the family. After all, who could not fall in love with a fluffy bundle of joy? However, this rarely works out well for anyone involved, and it is much better to build up your child’s confidence around animals gradually by exposing hi or her to the pets of family friends or by visiting the local shelter often. Only when your kid(s) is comfortable around animals, should you even think about getting one of your own.
Your Children Behave Well Around Animals
If you bring a cat or dog into your family and you have kids who treat them like little dolls, tugging at their tails, forcing them into situations they don’t want to be in, and even hitting them, then it is really not fair on the animal and it could result in injuries to either the animal or your child. You should never get your children a pet just because they want one; they should be able to demonstrate respect for animals and the correct behavior towards them first, for the good of everyone involved.
You Have the Money
Owning a pet can be pretty expensive, there’s vet’s bills or insurance, monthly Advecta treatments to keep fleas at bay, food, grooming bills and a whole host of other things that you’ll need to pay for as a responsible, loving pet owner. If you’re struggling financially now and you have very little if any disposable income to play with, it simply would not be responsible for you to bring a pet into your family’s life. Think about how you would feel if you couldn’t afford the cost of life-saving surgery or your new pooch, for example; it’s just not worth the risk. Wait until things are better and in the meantime, perhaps you and your family could volunteer at a shelter - there are lots of animals in need who would love to have a bit of attention from a loving family.
Your Child Helps with Chores
If you are planning on getting a pet for your child or children because they have expressed a desire for one, if you are expecting them to take care of the pet primarily, then you need to be confident that they will actually step up to the plate. A good indicator that this will happen is that your child or children already help with household chores and do so without complaint.
You Have the Room
If you’re just getting a little hamster or a cute pet rat, then although you will need a little space, you can probably squeeze one or two in, but if you;re getting a dog, for example, you’ll need to ensure that you have adequate room to house him comfortably and ensure that he has enough space to play and let off some steam. Most of the time this will mean having a garden, but if you’re willing to walk your pet more often, this might not be totally necessary, which brings us to…
You Have the Time
Pet care takes time if you’re doing it right. Not only do you have to walk, feed, groom, and attend vet’s appointments, but you will also need to play with your pets often if you want them to be happy. That means that you all need to have plenty of free time between you for having a pet to work out.
You Are All Committed
Getting a pet is a big deal, and if all of your family aren’t 100 percent onboard with the idea, it could cause problems. The last thing you want is to have to give up a much-loved pet because it turns out dad can’t actually stand being around dogs for too long or because your child has gotten bored with it and now your pet doesn’t get enough care and attention. No pet deserves to be dumped because its owners didn’t make sure they were doing the right thing in the first place!
You’ve Agreed on a Suitable Pet
Not every home is safe for a dog or every neighborhood suitable for a cat, and when you and your kids understand that and are willing to compromise by getting a more suitable pet that you are equally as willing to love as your first choice, it is a really good sign that you are ready for a new pet.
You’ve Tried Out Pet Ownership for Size
If your family has had a test run, perhaps by borrowing a pet for the weekend and doing your best to look after it, and things have gone well, then, again, it's a really good sign that adding a pet to your home will not go wrong. In fact, if it is at all possible for you to care for a pet temporarily before making a decision you should try to do that because it will help you to work out just how well your children deal with animals on a close-up basis.
You’re Willing to Take Responsibility
You might be getting a pet for your kid or as something the whole family wants, but ultimately, as adults, you and your spouse (if you have one) are ultimately responsible for the animals in your care, and that means you may have to supervise the kids as they carry out basic care tasks or even take them over completely yourself if the kids can't cope. If you aren't willing to do that right now, then perhaps it isn’t the best time to bring someone home from the shelter.
Pet’s aren’t playthings, and you should never bring one into your family without serious consideration!