To pet or not to pet? It's a major decision for families.
Whether you should get a pet depends on how much time you are willing to spend with it, especially if you have younger kids.
Pets impact the whole family, not just the "owner" (or, if you live in an enlightened area, the "guardian").
Here are 5 pet pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to bring a pet home.
If your family is crazy busy from sunrise to sunset daily, a pet that needs more daily TLC, such as a dog, might not be the best fit for your family - or the dog.
Kids under age 6 aren't generally capable of understanding a pet’s needs and caring for it properly.
When it comes to younger children, realize that a new pet is truly your new baby. Don’t go into the situation with false expectations. That’s not fair to the kid or the pet.
Good pets for the under-6 set include easy-to-care-for animals such as fish, mice, or turtles. Read more about easy pets for kids here.
Some kids are more responsible than others. But all kids will have time conflicts occasionally and all will forget to do pet chores.
So you have to decide how much you’re willing to help, and how much your can realistically expect of your child given her age and maturity.
Consider adopting a pet carefully if any family members have pet allergies, or a fear of animals. Little Johnny may want a kitten, but if Dad has a cat dander allergy, this might not be the best pet for the family.
Needless to say, if one child gets a gerbil, they will all want gerbils. Or a pet rat. Or mouse. Or... you get the idea.
Kids may share bedrooms, they may even share toothbrushes (ugh), but they draw the line when it comes to sharing pets.
Be aware of this phenomenon going in and have an idea of how you will respond to it. You might say that either the kids share the dog or no one gets a pet.
You might say that age 7 is the magic number and as kids reach seven years of age, they can choose a pet, with your approval. Just be prepared for this issue.