New pets and young families – Things to consider

Adding a new member to your family dynamic is a big step, especially if you plan to choose a pet that needs a high level of care. Even if you already have pets in your household, careful considerations should be made before introducing someone new. Hopefully, if we just paws for thought, we can avoid any unnecessary stress for our newcomers, and also for all of our existing family members!

There are many factors to think about when getting a new pet, from the type of pet you will choose, to the logistics of introducing them to the family for the first time. Remember that it is very often the case, as the size of pet increases, so does the level of care, responsibility and cost.

If you have young children their safety is paramount when deciding which animal may be the best fit. Some potential pets may be nervous, have a bad past or simply be too big and clumsy around young children. Always ask advice from your rescue centre or breeder, discuss the size of your home and the ages of all your children.

Which pet to get

This is a very personal decision that will rely largely on your own experience and knowledge of our furry, feathered or scaly friends! If you grew up with a specific pet and/or already have/had a certain species in your care, it may mean you are well educated and equipped when it comes to adding another. Any pet will need to coexist safely and happily with children and other pets.

Time constraints are a major consideration when choosing a new pet for your family, as is the amount of space they will need for living, exercising and for you to store their things.

A small fish may seem like an easy pet, but in fact, you should try to keep 2 or 3 goldfish together for company, and you will need a tank with plenty of oxygen and room to swim. The fish will need good quality feed and the tank will need cleaning out regularly, even if you use filters. Young children will definitely need your help with certain elements of fish care, but your local pet or aqua centre will be able to advise you in more detail based on the size of your fish and the size of your tank.

Small rodents, rabbits and birds are other popular choices for young children. Be sure to research carefully though, all caged pets need ample space and shade, and safe comfortable sleeping quarters. Small animals and birds must also have a safe, enclosed area to exercise and play. Species-specific food must be sourced from your local store and fresh water must be provided in a suitable receptacle. All small pets need regular cleaning-out and some require specialised bedding materials.

Reptiles and exotic pets are not always a good choice for young children who wish to help and interact. These animals require specialised care which can be complex and expensive. Many exotic pets also require live meals and some can be dangerous unless handled with expert care and respect. These pets are best considered if someone in the family has proper knowledge and experience.

Cats and dogs can make hugely rewarding companions, they will offer friendship, loyalty and a calming presence, but in return, they must be provided with a safe haven within your home. They should be cared for and respected, fed, watered and given the freedom to exercise. Certain types require more specialist care and time than others – long hairs may need grooming regimes, large dogs will need a lot of space, and identity chips, insurance and vet bills must all be deciding factors when choosing your pet. Pets like cats and dogs, who may wander around freely to interact with the family and other pets, should be introduced carefully and with plenty of supervision.

Rescue if you can!

Whoever you decide to bring into your home, try to rescue your new friend if possible, so many wonderful pets are waiting for a new loving family like yours!

From worm farms to zoo animals you can trust Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare to educate your little ones about all the wonderful creatures we share our world with.