Having a pet in the family home can be a wonderful and rewarding addition. Children love animals and having a pet gives them something to focus on, helping them to learn responsibility by looking after an animal and bonding with the pet.
So you’re considering giving a home to a pet? Weighing up the pros and cons of owning a pet is important, but what should you be thinking about? It is vital to consider all of the below points before getting a pet:
- Time to Commit: How much spare time do you and your family have to commit to looking after a pet?
- Cost Involved: Not only will you likely have to spend some money to purchase the pet, but you should also consider the ongoing costs of vet bills, food, kennels and other costs.
- Type of Pet: Choosing the right pet that suits your household, character and lifestyle is important.
Once you have considered the above points and the type of pet you want, then you should be able to make the right decision.
Voucher providers Voucherbox recently researched how much pet owners should expect to spend during the lifetime of their family pet. The figures are quite surprising, so it’s worth considering that a family typically spends £15,382 on their beloved pooch, and £10,395 for their feline friend! While these are probably the most common pets, their unconditional love comes at a cost! If you’re very cost-aware, then the cheapest pets to have is a hamster which lives on average 3 years and costs around £470, or goldfish which live for approximately 7 years and cost £877 in total.
Your Friendly Pooch
Man’s best friend is probably the most dependable pet that a family can own. It needs to walked daily, played with, let out into the garden, fed and groomed – it really is ‘part of the family’. Of course, some breeds are more kid and family-friendly than others. While dogs require a daily commitment, also consider that if you go on holiday, you will need to pay out for kennels if you don’t have anyone who will housesit. The average life expectancy of a dog is 10 – 15 years.
Our Feline Friends
Cats are quite independent. They let themselves out through the cat flap and although they can cuddle up with you on the sofa, they also quite like their alone time. Still, a cat requires most of the daily attention a dog does (apart from walking!), and while you will also need someone to feed the cat if you go away – it can take care of itself on other levels. Average life expectancy for a family cat is around 15 years.
Guinea Pigs, Rabbits and Hamsters
These mostly caged animals are quite self-sufficient, so as long as their cages are kept clean, they are freed to have a run around once in a while and are fed, then they are happy. Smaller pets like these can be quite suitable for young children and allow pet owners to limit handling time, compared to dogs and cats. Average life expectancy for a hamster is 3 years and a rabbit can be around 10 years.
Getting a pet can be a wonderful thing, but it’s a decision that should not be taken lightly. Make sure you consider the pros and cons and all the practicalities before you even introduce the idea to your children, as they will certainly be disappointed if they end up not getting one after you’ve hinted at the possibility!