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Choosing the Right Pet for Your Family

Most parents at some point consider getting a pet for their children.  Many families already have pets before they have children, so they just continue keeping that type of animal.  However, if you are at the stage where you don’t have any pets and are toying with the idea of getting one or two as companions for your children and a way to gently teach them about responsibility then you might need to think long and hard about what kind of pet would be best.

At Parent Slate, all three of us think it is really beneficial for children to grow up with pets in their lives, and to help you decide in the following post we will look at the most popular choices and the kind of children and environment they would be suited.


Dogs are real pack animals and therefore a dog would suit children who are very gregarious and sociable.  The bond between humans and dogs is particularly strong.  Remember though that dogs require more care than other animals, and as parents, this is something you need to bear in mind when your children are too young to walk a dog on their own.


Although it is true that goldfish do not do much more than swim around and swim around, eat, poo, and swim around some more, they do make great starter pets.  Goldfish can live for many years in just a cold water bowl without any fancy filter or heater.  Most premature goldfish deaths are caused by feeding too much or the wrong food.


Cats are very comforting, both Raymond and Phoebe have always had cats and love how comforting they are to stroke and to listen to when they meow and purr.  As cats are known for being aloof a lot of the time, they would suit children who want something to take care of but who won’t mind if their pet ignores them from time to time.  The main concern with cats is allergies.  Around 30% of people are allergic to cats.  However, the chance of your child developing allergies can be reduced if you have cats in your home before your baby comes along.


Birds, whether you get one of the more impressive vocally breeds such as parrots and cockatiels, are great pets for children who have a real deep love for animals.  They can become very sociable, and active and have very pleasant personalities; but a lot of training and patience is required to get them to that stage, so that is something you have to take into consideration.


Rodents are clever, furry, small, and generally very harmless animals who require a reasonable amount of care and attention, but not too much for most children to handle.  These are ideal if your family is desperate to have a pet, but don’t have the space or isn’t ready to commit to something bigger like a cat or dog.

They are also great for families who are out of the house a lot during the day because most rodents are nocturnal and sleep during the day.  It is worth remembering though that their cages will need cleaning out regularly, and even if you do get into a good routine doing that, there may still be a whiff of ammonia in your house.

Although we have just scratched the surface with the type of animals you and your children can keep as pets, we hope we have given you enough to think about.

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