There’s nothing quite like the excitement of bringing a new friend home to your family. Whether you’re looking for a new exercise buddy, a companion for cuddling, or anything in between, choosing a new pet is a big deal.
For families with children, however, choosing the right pet can be especially hard. You want the best for your kids, and want to make sure your pet and children are the best possible fit for each other.
To help make sure your newest family member is the perfect match for you and your children, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips to help you find the ideal rescue companion.
1. Understand the Kind of Characteristics You’re Looking for in a Pet
When it comes to pets and children, having a clear idea of what characteristics you want in your pet can go a long way. For example, dogs with high energy can make great backyard playmates and adventure buddies, but if the pet is too physical, it may not be an ideal match, especially if you have young children.
Even if you do not have young children, consider if you have other companion animals; many dogs love having a buddy, while others do best as an only pet. The same goes for cats and mixed-species households.
Plenty of dogs are great around kids (and other animals), so it is essential to understand your needs and do thorough research before adopting. Take the time to understand what kind of traits you would like your pet to have — attributes that compliment your family and your lifestyle — and look for a dog or cat that matches them best!
2. Consider Personality and Temperament Over Breed
Too often, families will choose a pet based on the overall reputation or look of a breed. While a pet’s breed can certainly play a role in its behavior and temperament, their individual personality and overall behavior are far more critical.
Just like people, every pet has unique qualities that make him or her special. When it comes time to find the perfect match for your children, understanding these special quirks and personality traits can give you a much clearer and dependable idea of how well a potential pet will fit in with your kids.
3. Keep Your Living Space in Mind
The type of pet you choose for your kids greatly depends on your family and your family’s living space. Large dog breeds are often better suited for households with room to accommodate their energy, such as a large fenced-in yard or close access to a park.
For those that live in apartments or smaller sized homes, it may be appropriate to consider pets more tolerant to small-space, indoor living. Cats make great household companions and don’t require a daily walk or romp around the yard.
By keeping your living space in mind, you’ll be able to provide the ideal home for your pet, while creating an atmosphere that your pets and children can both enjoy.
4. Consider Where You’re Getting Your Pet
If you’re reading this, we’ll assume that you’re considering adopting your newest family member, which is excellent!
Unfortunately, breed stereotypes and misinformation can sway people to thinking they should buy a dog from a breeder or pet store. Bred animals live sad lives, often in deplorable conditions, and nearly all pet-store animals come from puppy mills. With 7.6 million companion animals in shelters across the U.S., you can rest assured that there’s a perfect pet for your children patiently waiting for a new forever home. So please, adopt, don’t shop!
When it comes to finding the perfect pet for your kids, it’s crucial to understand your new buddy as an individual, rather than a “type” — which goes far beyond breed. Another benefit of adopting is that shelters and rescue groups know much more about the overall temperament of an animal and can help you gauge their characteristics, personality, and temperament, and get a sense of whether or not a specific pet would be a good fit within your home.