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 Compliments of Operation Kindness For Hernando County Animal Services, Inc.


Finding the Right Pet for your Family










For many children, the family pet is their best friend. They are a companion that provides unconditional love while also teaching lessons in responsibility and loyalty. The key to creating a true family pet is to provide the care and training it needs to live a long and healthy life.

The question then to ask yourself is what animal would best fit into your family’s life style. Before answering that question, or being swayed by the animal “cuteness factor”, consider the following:

Your children’s emotional maturity. It is generally recommended that the children in your house be older than 6 or at least at the age where they exhibit self control and understand the word “no.”  If they are not at this level, then great starter pets include goldfish, hamsters or gerbils.

The activity level of your family-If you are a family that is always on the go, ask yourself, “Will we be able to bring our pet with us, or will it be left alone at home?” Animals such as fish or reptiles won’t demand the same amount of attention at dogs or cats, which are more social creatures.

Your financial situation-Animals can be costly-some more than others. These costs not only include yearly vaccinations but also food and shelter, be it a habitat for your rabbit or a cage and toys for your bird. The average yearly cost for caring for a dog can be $700 or more. The yearly cost for a cat can be $300 or more, and for a small and furry critter such as a gerbil, hamster or guinea pig, the cost is approximately $150.

Living situation- Many rental agreements require a pet deposit. There are also certain animals that they will not accept. If you rent, check your rental agreement or contact your landlord before getting your heart set on a certain type of animal. Also, consider the cleanliness factor. If you are someone who likes keeping a tidy household, contained pets, such as birds, reptiles and fish might be a better choice. Still, all animal’s habitats need to be cleaned on a regular basis.

Finally, realize that while your child may have the best of intentions, the majority or your new pet’s care will fall largely on you. If you don’t think full-time pet ownership is right for you, consider visiting or volunteering at an animal shelter (many shelters have age restrictions on volunteers), watching a friend’s animal while they are away or spending time further researching the types of animals that are most appropriate for your lifestyle.

The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a trained professional. Always consult an expert for professional guidance.

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