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05 Jul, Tuesday
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Montreal Families

5 tips for choosing a family pet

Whether it’s got fur, feathers or scales, choosing the right pet for your family requires some research and thought. After all, you are taking on the care of a whole new life, however little it may seem, and it’s important to get the right fit.

Time
How much time are you realistically prepared to devote to your pet? Dogs require the most care as they must be trained, taken on frequent walks and given plenty of attention. Puppies will need more hands-on care than an adult dog. Low maintenance choices include fish or turtles that require little more than regular feeding as well as cleaning of an aquarium or tank.

Expense
A purebred dog, parrot or rare lizard can easily set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, especially once you take into account any specialized equipment and veterinary bills. On the other hand, hamsters, guinea pigs and fish can be considerably less expensive. Always consider adopting your animal from the SPCA or local animal rescue organization rather than starting off at the pet store. Countless animals are unnecessarily euthanized every year for want of a loving home. Moreover, these organizations usually charge only nominal fees for adoptions (which often include neutering your cat or dog), so the savings can be considerable.

Care
Children will usually promise to clean a pet’s cage, empty the litter box or feed an animal ever day. But most children under 10 are unlikely to follow-through without a great deal of parental supervision. Adults should keep in mind that some pets, such as a puppy or kitten, can be around for 10 to 15 years, so you may still be taking care of the animal when your kids head off to college.

Health issues
If any family member suffers from asthma or allergies, consult your doctor or allergist before promising to buy a pet. Many doctors strongly recommend that children with asthma not have furry pets such as cats or dogs, even if the animal is kept out of the bedrooms.

Responsibility
Owning a pet brings with it certain responsibilities. Neutering your animal if it will come into contact with others is vital in order to avoid the birth of unwanted animals. Your pet may need regular medical care, shots, deworming, etc. You will also need to ensure your kids are providing the necessary food and water, and keeping the animal’s environment clean.

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