"Cat" (CC BY 2.0) by kevin dooley
If you’re considering getting a pet for your family, you may have already made up your mind about the type of pet you want - or you may still be deliberating over what type of pet to go for. Getting a pet for the family home is a big commitment, especially when you already have several responsibilities like being a parent, doing a job and keeping your home!
A family pet can be a wonderful addition to the home, giving all of you something else to focus on and helping children to learn about responsibility. There are many things to think about but perhaps one element that people don’t always consider is the cost – how much will it cost to feed your pet, take it to the vet, put it in kennels when you’re away and pay for insurance (if applicable)?
Money saving website Voucherbox recently came up with some fascinating facts about how much our pets cost us over their lifetime. One of the most expensive pets to keep is actually a box turtle that costs on average £26,198 - but this is because it can live for around 50 years! Dogs cost £15,382 on average, while feline friends are £10,395. The lifetime cost is worked out using the average lifespan of the pet, plus vet fees, food, insurance, kennels, toys and treats.
"Harmony" (CC BY 2.0) by amyramoon
What Pet Are You Considering?
As most people have busy lifestyles, we have made a list of suggested pets for your home. Consider the time you need to commit to your pet, how much it will cost and whether it is suitable for your children and the family home. Be realistic, because the last thing you will want to do is rehome a pet that you couldn’t make enough time for.
Easy to Look After
These pets are the easiest to look after, only requiring cage or tank cleaning and feeding: Goldfish, Hamsters, Snakes and Reptiles.
Some pets are less dependable and will be more self-sufficient than others. Although they do require some of your time, they do not need regular attention: Budgies, Guinea Pigs and Rabbits.
Highly Dependable Pets
These pets require their owners to be attentive to their needs most of the time with daily feeding or walking: Dogs and cats.
"My Dog" (CC BY 2.0) by ETersigni
Most Popular Pets
The most popular pets by far are dogs and cats. The PDSA Paw Report recently noted that there were 9.4 million dogs and 11 million cats living in UK households in 2016. So what is it that makes dogs such an attractive pet to have in the family home? Dogs are loyal and loving, generally good with children (although specific breeds such as the bull terrier and the bichon frise are more kid-friendly than others), always happy to see us and often our shadow wherever we are in the house. They do require daily walking which can be a bind, but it also gets us out in the fresh air for some exercise. If you are thinking of getting a puppy, consider that ideally you will need to be home most of the time. Cats, on the other hand, are fairly self-sufficient and independent – they don’t require their owners to walk them daily but they will still cuddle up on the sofa with us and be affectionate. It should be noted, though, that cats do require some daily playtime (especially if they're house cats and are not allowed to go out), which will keep them healthy and happy.
Choosing a pet for the family home very much depends on how much time you can commit to it and how much it will cost during its lifetime. However, it’s great for children to grow up learning how to care for an animal. After all, pets can bring so much joy to the home!