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What Kind of Pet Shall I Get?

What Kind of Pet Should I Get?

This holiday season, I have no doubt that many children will be asking for puppies and kittens under their trees or as gifts.

It’s not always the best idea to give into these pleas, so ask yourself a few questions to see if you’re ready. Then, let’s talk shop about what animals require what and might be best for your family. 

If you’re thinking about getting a pet first ask:
  • Who will be the pet’s primary caregiver?
  • Do we have an extra $100-$200 a month in our budget for an animal? Food, bathing, veterinary, boarding, and replacing things the animal might ruin average out to about this number. 
  • What will the pet do during the day while I’m at work?
  • How long will the pet be left alone?
  • How will the pet effect my sleep schedule?
  • How will having this pet effect our vacation plans?

After you have carefully considered the monetary impact, the changes in routines, vacations, and schedules, you should have a better idea of the realities of owning a pet. 

Now, let’s look at which species would be best suited for you family.

Each type of animal will have a rating based on cost, interaction with your family, time commitment, and safety. There will also be a average life span and small narrative based on what I know about owning this pet.

What Type of Pet Should We Get - Richmond Moms Blog - Canine

Canine Rating
Cost $$$
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Definitely
Time Commitment Average to High
Safety Moderate Risk depending on energy and temperament
Average Life Span 10-15 years
Bunny’s Thoughts By far, this is my favorite pet that I have. BUT this is the LARGEST commitment other than my horse. I have huge dogs that are not very active, but they knock over my children, pose a risk to a young child who might aggravate a dog, and are expensive to keep with shots, vet, food, flea medication, bathing etc. But for our family, it’s all worth it. I prefer rescues as there are tons of great dogs and I don’t recommend puppy breeders unless you know the breeder personally and can meet both parents. Dogs require socialization and training. This means, on average, 8-10 hours a week of making sure that dog meets other dogs and other people and experiences to establish a well-rounded temperament. Don’t just get a puppy to shove under the tree. Allow your children to meet the dogs prior to bringing them home and schedule some time off to acclimate the dog to the new home family and schedule. It’s a huge commitment but huge reward in my opinion.

What Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog - Feline Cat

Feline Rating
Cost $$$
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
If you’re lucky and the cat is in the mood
Time Commitment Average
Safety Low Risk, but do scratch
Average Life Span 11-15 years
Bunny’s Thoughts Full disclosure, I’m not a cat fan. I know that may shock many of you. Our family has outdoor barn cats but I have never owned an indoor cat. Litter boxes can be horrible things with kids as we know kids explore everything. Cats need to be fed twice a day and the litter box should be cleaned frequently. Cats can also be destructive to furniture. It might be best to ask another expert on getting a kitten this season as I am biased.

What Type of Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog

Reptile Rating
Cost $$
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Yes
Time Commitment Average
Safety Safe
Average Life Span 5-12 years
Bunny’s Thoughts The up front cost of a reptile is pricey as they require lighting, tank, heating, and environment. Ongoing, they are a little high maintenance depending on what you have, but they’re easy to feed and easy to clean. I’m a fan of geckos or iguanas. Be careful though because some reptiles eat live bugs so you end up with more pets than you bargained for.

What Type of Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog

Fish Rating
Cost $
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Nope..that’s just weird
Time Commitment Minimal
Safety Very safe
Average Life Span 1 year
Bunny’s Thoughts This is a starter pet but the fascination fades as it cannot cuddle, interact, and is boring. Cheap pet + low life span results in frequent turnaround. Great if you can use tank as a night light. Fun Fact: There are more fish purchases around release of Finding Nemo movie releases.

What Type of Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog

Ferret Rating
Cost $$
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Yes
Time Commitment Minimal
Safety They can bite but it is low risk
Average Life Span 6-10 years
Bunny’s Thoughts True story. Ferrets scare the heck out of me. I don’t like them and would not own them. If you’re going to have a baby sitter, make sure they know about your ferret or you could scare them like I was. They’re also pretty active and make a lot of noise while playing like a rodent does in their cage. They’re not extremely difficult to maintain and care for, but still, I’m not a fan.

What Type of Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog

Rodent Rating
Cost $
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Yes, but be careful of bites.
Time Commitment Minimal
Safety Many can carry disease, but the risk is low.
Average Life Span 3-10 years
Bunny’s Thoughts This is a cage pet. There are exceptions and hamsters can run on wheels but most children tire of this warm and fuzzy quickly. It is a good way to see if your child is responsible enough for a larger animal and will keep promises to care for the pet. Not a great pet with smaller, younger children. They also have a short lifespan for most (hamsters) so this will be heart breaking for a younger child.

What Type of Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog

Horse Rating
Cost $$$$$
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Yes
Time Commitment 10-15 hours a week unless boarded
Safety Dangerous without experience
Average Life Span 18-27 years depending on breed
Bunny’s Thoughts Having a pony is every little girl’s dream. But unless you have the time to care for the pony, the space or money to board the pony or horse, and the money to pay for it’s care and feeding, this is definitely not the pet for you. If you plan on riding daily, that’s one thing. But other than that, you can lease or take lessons for recreation or even competitive riding which is a much cheaper way to go for your children.

What Kind of Pet Should I Get - Richmond Moms Blog

Snake Rating
Cost $
Interaction
(Will it love you back and cuddle?)
Yes, even if it’s not furry. They love body heat.
Time Commitment Almost none
Safety Very Safe
Average Life Span 18-28 years
Bunny’s Thoughts By far one of my favorite pets for children. Yes they are scary BUT they are low maintenance (only feed once a month), low cost, and live forever. For example, I got a snake when I was in 4th grade that lived with me until I graduated with my Masters Degree. Finally, they’re good snugglers (yes, I know you cringed) and wonderful for show and tell and science projects. You need to clean the cage every now and then, but it’s simple and easy.

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