If you’re the type of person that has always had animals when growing up, then you will know how empty it can feel without them being around. However, when you get married and start a family, you might not have time for pets; this could change, though, as your kids get older and become more responsible. They may start asking for a pet, or maybe you are longing to have a pet around the house again and are experiencing more free time. Choosing the right time to get an animal is not always easy to judge, but here are a few things to consider before deciding.

What’s Your Lifestyle?

One of the biggest things you need to consider before getting any animal is your lifestyle. You and your kids will be looking after the new pet, so someone will need to be there to feed it and take care of it. If you are a busy family that does a lot of activities, then you might not be in the best position to take on an animal at the moment. Some families work long hours and their children spend time with relatives or at after-school clubs. That is also not such as good environment to have a pet. However, that doesn’t mean that all pets are out of the question. There is also the issue of where you live; if you live in an apartment, there may be restrictions on the pets you can have, so it’s best to check first.

Can You Afford a Pet?

No matter what type of pet you get, there will always be some financial cost involved. It isn’t just the cost of buying the pet, but also the food and other expenses such as litter if it’s a cat, or bedding if it’s a rabbit or gerbil. To be safe, you should also think about getting some pet insurance. Otherwise, if anything were to go wrong, the cost of vet care could be expensive.

How Old Are Your Children?

If your aim is for your children to look after the pet that they choose, then you need to make sure they are going to be old enough to do the work. Whatever the pet is, unless your children are early teens or older, you will likely need to help them with cleaning out the pet cage or cleaning the pet themselves. If you are happy to do that, then you can get some pets such as gerbils or mice at a young age, but they can help you with feeding and cleaning. For other pets such as dogs, again, you will need to help with walking them unless they are older kids. You should also consider their maturity for pets, as certain pets such as gerbils and rabbits could only live for three to five years, so you need to make sure they can handle losing them.

Does Anyone Have Allergies?

If you have never had pets before, then it could be a good idea to see if you have any allergies before you commit to a pet. If you know what type of pet you want, then try to find a friend or family member that has one you can visit. Spend some time with them and see if you get any reactions, if you do, then you will need to avoid it as a pet. The same applies to your children; it is best to test with someone else’s pet before you get your own. Even if you do have an allergy to cats, for example, that doesn’t mean you cannot have a dog or another animal. For those that are allergic to a lot of animals that have fur, you can always choose fish or reptiles instead.

Have They Shown an Interest?

If you are not sure whether to get a pet for your kids or not, then you need to be guided by them. Although it may be nice to have a pet for them, if they have no interest in animals, they might not be interested in helping or doing anything with them. You also need to be sure that they will be gentle and kind to the animal, if they don’t seem that nice to animals, then you might be better waiting for a little while to see how they feel in a year or so. To determine if they are ready, why not take them to a friend’s house who has pets and see how they interact? If they are kind and compassionate, then this could be an indication that they are ready.

What Type of Pet Should You Get?

Each animal has certain and differing requirements. If you have a busy lifestyle, then something like a dog will not be a good idea. They need a lot of walking and can get lonely and frustrated if left at home alone for too long. Cats are a good idea for many people because they are friendly, your kids can pet them, and they usually live for a long time. They are also independent, so they won’t mind if you leave them alone all day as long as they have food, water, and a litter box. You will need to get them regularly treated for fleas with products like Advecta flea meds, and they will need regular vaccinations. If you are all new to pets, then you could try fish. Goldfish or tropical (freshwater) fish are relatively easy to keep, and they are fine to be left all day. They are also a good way to gauge how your children will be looking after a new pet.

There is no doubt that adding a pet to your family can have many benefits. Not only are they a good way to teach your children about animals, but they can also be a good companion. However, you shouldn’t get a pet to make them feel better after a sad event or as a reward, because this may not be the best time for them.