Skip to content


Some pets require attention; others demand more. There also is the cost factor and whether or not having small children in the home is conducive to owning a pet. Before deciding, you have to ask: Is our family ready for a pet?

Photo with dogs and cats written "are you ready for us?"

Let's take a closer look at the issues.

It's a beautiful spring day, and you decide to take your small children into town. While there, you pass a pet shop. The kids become pretty excited at the puppies and kittens on display. They press their noses up against the window and begin choosing which puppy or kitten to bring home.

Little boy looking a dog through the glass

What do you do?

You tell them you will have to discuss it with daddy first. Secretly, you had an eye on one puppy that you would love to take home. Sound familiar?

Family talking

Now comes the hard part; deciding whether or not your family is ready for a pet. So, the discussion begins. These are good and common questions to start with.

Can we afford to raise a pet?

Will the children be able to coexist with a pet as much as they want one?

Do we have enough space?

Who will take care of feeding and training the pet?

We will need to find a vet.

The children need all our attention; do we have the time to address the pet's many needs?

Do we want a specific breed?

Will the pet be gentle with the children?

What do we do with the pet when we go on vacation?

These are questions moms and dads have to ask and honestly answer. If all of the answers are met with satisfaction and commitment, then the choice of where to acquire the pet is next.

Some pet owners prefer acquiring a kitten or puppy from a breeder; others may decide that a shelter is more suitable. However, keep in mind that both kittens and puppies are the first to be adopted, and it may take a while before you find the right pet in a shelter.

Family petting a dog

What should be noted is that some pet stores carry puppies purchased from puppy mills.

If possible, select a pup from another source, as most of these puppies have health problems that unscrupulous pet shop owners will never reveal to you.

Little cat supported on a fence

If you decide on another type of pet for your family, there are other essential factors which you should consider. Some pets carry diseases.

Bottle of homeopathic medicine for dogs for fortress-metabolic strengthing

The following group of pets should not be considered when there are small children in the home: turtles, reptiles, ferrets, or exotic animals of any type. Before deciding on any pet, ensure that no one in your family is allergic to animals in general or cats in particular. Studies have shown that more people tend to be allergic to cats than any other animal. 

Once you have decided upon a particular pet, whether it's a puppy, kitten, or another animal suitable for young children; even before the animal comes home for the first time, parents need to sit down with their children. Teaching and talking to them about responsibility and care for the new pet can prevent shifting of the responsibilities to the parents. Or…

For the first few months, they pamper the pet, play with the pet, and thoroughly enjoy the latest addition to the family. Inevitably, as children grow, they become bored with the pet, and the responsibility of taking care of it falls in the parents' lap.

Dog that gnawed the door

Owning a pet is a permanent commitment that an entire family must agree on. Pets offer so much unconditional love. In return, all they want is to be dutifully cared for, fed, walked, hugged, and loved. They can bring immense joy and happiness to a family, which is why deciding if your family is ready for a pet requires thoughtful consideration, research, and an open dialogue among all family members.

Happy family in a camp with a cat and a dog

Previous article How pets teach kids responsibility: Valuable life lessons for Children