Can I have a puppy mom? Can I have a kitten mom? Any parent who has heard these words from their child’s mouth will know the inner turmoil of having to say ‘no’ to their hopeful little face, but also the confusion they feel afterwards about whether a pet would be a good idea for the family. Read on for tips on choosing your family’s first pet.

Having a pet can teach your children responsibility and how to care for other living things. If they contribute to their food, it would help them understand the value of money. But what kind of pet is the right one for your household? If you’re just as confused as me, here are a few steps to follow that will hopefully lead you to the right decision.

Step One: Do your research

First of all, you need to think about the kinds of animals that will best fit into the environment you can provide them with. How much outdoor space is available to you? What kind of job do you have? How many hours do you spend out of the house? Do you have young children that might not know how to handle larger pets?

All of these questions and research into different animals will help narrow down your choices, and then, you need to investigate what it will cost to keep them. If it’s a dog, you’ll need a bed, toys, lots of food, leads and collars for walking and so on. If it’s a reptile you’d rather go for, their diets are often very specific and you need to be sure that you can get a steady supply.

Step Two: Can you afford it?

Once you’ve done your research, go to local breeders and kennels and ask questions about the kinds of pet care your animal would need. This doesn’t just refer to regular veterinary check-ups, but also recurring costs like food, toys, a cat box and cat litter and of course there’s pet insurance too. Often, you’ll find that local veterinary clinics provide health packages that you can pay monthly, so that you don’t have to worry about keeping tabs on your puppy or kitty’s health.

After this, you’ll have a realistic expectation of your budget against your dream pet. If these don’t match up, you may need to re-think.

Step Three: Where to go?

If they do match up though, the next step is to go to a reputable breeder, or a kennels such as, who work directly with them. You’ll be able to see first-hand the level of care delivered to each new litter, the conditions they’ve been kept in, the temperament of the parents of your new addition, and so on.

It might be the case that you decide to go to a rescue center or shelter instead, which is a great chance for you to adopt a loving animal who’s had a bad start in life. However, it’s vital that you ask questions regarding medical history and their suitability around children, as many rescue animals may not be suitable for a young family.

When we decided to get our Cockerpoo, Max, it was because a good friend had to re-home him due to her battles with breast cancer and other life things. He fit into our home and family life perfectly and at five years old when he joined our family his manners were already well developed. He made the perfect first pet for little Chloe since he arrived only a month or two before she was born. Just this morning we spent 20 minutes tossing a tennis ball with Max and Chloe taking turns playing fetch. Having a pet can be so much fun but it really is a lot of work and requires a lifetime commitment!  Chloe is almost 16 months old and when she is tired she’ll pop her thumb in her mouth and put her head on Max and snuggle – it’s absolutely the cutest thing! Here they are hanging out (she sat up when I pulled out my camera).

baby's first pet

I hope this three-step guide has given you some new direction – are you getting a first pet?