Choosing a family pet

If you don't already have a family pet, the topic of bringing one into your home will certainly occur, as your child gets older. It just seems that animals and children are attracted to each other.

Perhaps it's the in-bred adventurous nature of both breeds? Or it may be the need for a special pal so vividly portrayed in the recent movie, My Dog Skip. Whatever the reason of desire, a pet can be a positive addition to your family if you make the right choices from the start. So when your preschooler begins to ask for a pet, arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible and think before you speak.

Consider the commitment level involved
Deciding between a dog and a fish are two very different commitment levels. Fish do not require you to be home during the day but may not offer the interaction level you desire from your pet.

Determine the space requirement for your pet
If you are living in a three room apartment, a German Shepard probably isn't your best choice of dogs but a smaller breed would do fine.

Does your time permit a high maintenance animal?
There are advantages to choosing a cat over a dog or fish over a bird. Look at the hours you are at home and compare them against the feeding and walking needs of the pets in question. You might soon realize that you are never home to walk a dog at night.

What's your tolerance for pet hair?
If white hair on your dark carpet would drive you mad or your allergies are go into overdrive at the slightest detection of hair, a turtle might be more your speed.

Take advantage of the information available online
There are plenty of sites, chat rooms and message boards that can provide useful information on the species or breed you select. Take advantage of it to confirm your decision.

Find the animal
When you finally determine the pet that best meets your family needs, remember there are plenty of good pets waiting to be adopted. Contact your local Humane Society or go to - an online listing of animals available in shelters.

Choosing a name
Check out our list of the Top 10 Dog and Cat Names for ideas.

Shopping for your pet
Buy pet products at off $30 or more click here