The Best First Pet for Your Family: What You Need to Know

Did you know that over one hundred thirty-five million households own some type of pet? Most types of pets make a great addition to any type of family. Unfortunately, if it’s your first time buying an animal for your family, you might be hesitant about which one is the right choice.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the best first pet dilemma, some good options are depending on the type of family you have. In this article, we’ll help you decide which type of animal is right for your family. We’ll also give you some advice on how to make the transition easy for both your family and the animal. Let’s get started!

Best First Pets for Families

The first decision you need to make is also one of the most important: which type of animal do you want as a pet? There are plenty of great animals out there that can be made into pets. However, to help you get a jump start we’ll go into five options that we think are the best ‘first’ pet options for a family.

1. Dogs

Dogs are generally considered the perfect family pet and for good reason. They’re often friendly, trainable, and they love to be touched. However, it’s important to note that dogs require both time and financial resources that some people might not have access to.

Dogs need training, which will take a lot of time or patience, or expensive pet training. Also, daily walks and playtime are a must for many different breeds. As such, you should make sure that your family is willing to help out when it comes to taking care of any canine pets.

2. Cats

Cats are another good first pet option. They’re great companions and you don’t need to worry about walking them like dogs. Still, it should be noted that they’re often not as friendly as dogs. It also might take a while before a cat feels comfortable in your home. However, this can depend on the personality of the cat.

Many felines love being cuddled and played with. So, if this is important to you, then make sure to keep your eyes out for a cat that fits into this personality type.

3. Hamsters

Hamsters are cute and active pets. They also don’t require much maintenance in terms of cleaning and feeding (you don’t need to walk them like a dog). However, there are some drawbacks to be aware of. For one thing, they sleep most of the day. As such, your children likely won’t get to play with them when they’re awake much.

They’ll also be active during the night, which can be disruptive. Hamsters also have a short lifespan. So, if you have young kids, then you’ll need to be prepared to introduce them to the concept of death when they’re you. For some parents, this isn’t a big deal. But, it’s still something to think about.

4. Birds

Birds can also be a good first pet. Still, it’s important to remember that they’re a big commitment. For one thing, birds get very upset when they’re mishandled. Sometimes they can even turn violent. So, if you have younger children, then you must teach them everything they need to know about handling the bird before they ever touch it.

Second, some types of birds live for a very long time — especially exotic breeds. For example, parrots can live to be seventy years old. So, if you’re not ready for that long of a time commitment, then it’s best to go with a different animal.

5. Fish

Fish are a great first pet if you want to teach your children about the responsibility of owning an animal. For example, if your children want a dog or cat, but you don’t think they’re ready, then try getting them a fish.

If they’re diligent about regularly feeding them and cleaning the tank, then that’s a good sign that they’re ready for a more involved animal. However, they’re not great in the sense that you can’t pet them or interact with them. Still, they’re fun to watch and make a great addition to any type of room.

Factors You Should Consider

Which animal you or your kids like the most isn’t the only consideration you should take when choosing a first pet. Other factors influence which pet is the perfect fit for you. Specifically things like maintenance, your children themselves, and allergies. In this section, we’ll be breaking these factors down.

1. Maintenance

Maintenance refers to the amount of work needed to take proper care of the animal. If you don’t have enough time or resources to take care of your pet, then you shouldn’t get one. It’s that simple. Generally, hamsters, birds, and fish are pretty hands-off pets that are low maintenance. You will need to feed them daily and clean their habitats occasionally.

However, besides that, they can usually take care of themselves. This includes grooming, playing, and sleeping. The next low-maintenance animal on the list is cats. Cats groom themselves and spend most of the day and night sleeping. However, you will need to clean their litter boxes more frequently than hamsters, birds, and fish.

Additionally, you should play with your cat often to keep them active and entertained. Dogs, unfortunately, are some of the more high maintenance. Unless you have a doggy door in your home, then you will need to frequently take your dog out for bathroom breaks.

In addition to this, most dog breeds need to be walked at least once a day. Some require even more. As such, you should make sure that you have the time necessary to raising a dog before you purchase one.

2. Age and Size of Your Children

It’s important to think about how your children will interact with the animal. Young children tend to enjoy a lot of physical touches when it comes to pets. Unfortunately, many types of cats, hamsters, and birds don’t like to be handled at certain times of the day. As such, a dog might be the best option for younger kids.

However, make sure that it’s a smaller dog if your children aren’t big yet. Larger dog breeds can unintentionally knock over small children and hurt them. The good news is that you generally don’t need to worry about certain breeds being more aggressive than others. However, size should be a consideration.

3. Allergies

If someone has known pet allergies, then you should avoid the animal they’re allergic to. However, we also recommend that everyone in the family gets tested for allergies before purchasing a pet. Many people have minor allergic reactions to pets that they’re unaware of. As such, getting tested beforehand ensures that there won’t be any problems once they’re moved in.

How to Bring Home a Pet For the First Time

Regardless of the type of animal you’ve chosen, there are some general rules to follow when bringing a pet home for the first time. First, make sure that you have all the supplies you need beforehand. This includes cages, bedding, toys, food, water, as well as any space they might need. You should also educate you children on how to behave around the animal.

For example, if you’re bringing a cat home, then you should tell your children to leave it alone until it’s comfortable. Cats need time to feel safe in an environment before they can play. Also, keep in mind that almost all animals hate to be transported. This is especially true for cats, hamsters, and fish.

As such, you should minimalize travel time as much as possible. Unfortunately, this can be difficult for some people. For example, many dog breeders live in remote country settings that require a lot of driving to get to. So, what should you do if you find yourself in this scenario? We recommend professional long distance pet transport.

These types of professionals can handle both domestic and international travel. What’s more, they make sure that your new pet is as comfortable as possible by transporting them in luxury conditions. If there’s one area you should splurge on when it comes to new pets, it’s transportation. This will make acclimating to a new home much easier if they aren’t stressed when they arrive.

Want More Content? Keep Exploring

We hope this article helped you learn more about finding the best first pet for your family. As you can see, there’s no shortage of animals to choose from. However, regardless of the type of animal, you should make that everyone is ready for the responsibility that comes with a first pet.

This is especially true if you want everyone to split responsibility when taking care of the animal. However, once all expectations are set you can begin the exciting new journey of bringing your new pet home. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics you’re sure to love.