Choosing The Right Pet For Your Family

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Are you thinking about introducing a pet into your family dynamic? This is always going to be a major shift that will have significant considerations for the future. For instance, you should think about the additional pressure that certain pets will put on your finances. You also need to consider the time commitment that will come with different animals.

Regardless of these factors, if you have kids, investing in an animal will always provide a range of benefits. For instance, you will gain a chance to teach kids about responsibilities and help them understand why living up to certain roles and responsibilities matters. More so, a pet can be a new addition to the family who you will love and cherish forever.

So, let’s look at the different pet options worth exploring and some of the factors you should consider about each type of animal.


This is by far the most expensive animal or pet that you can invest in. If you don’t have land around your home, then you are going to need to make sure that you pay to rent stables. If you do have land, then you’ll need to build stables yourself where the horse can stay close to your home. Horse stall kits are readily available but you need to make sure that you are choosing the right one. If there is an issue with quality standards, then it could mean that the animal escapes which will be catastrophic. You also need to think about factors such as security. It’s not unheard of for horses to be stolen, particularly in rural areas.

In terms of care, horses need grooming regularly. You’ll also need to make sure that you are feeding them well. Clearing the stable is another critical role. So, if you don’t want to handle this job yourself, then you need to make sure that your child is old enough to handle it.

Of course, the main benefit of buying a horse is that you or your children can learn to ride. Do note that horse riding is incredibly dangerous and not at all for the faint hearted. You will need to make sure that you have the right lessons and training before you even begin to think about riding a horse independently. However, once you can ride, you or your child can ride, you’ll find that it strengthens the bond that they have with the animal considerably.

Choosing The Right Pet For Your Family


Alternatively, you could consider bringing a dog into your family. The main point to understand about dogs is that they are always going to need a lot of attention. These are highly social animals. Without the right level of time from you, they will develop behavioral issues which can lead to physical health concerns.

If you have a large enough amount of space, you can consider getting one of the bigger breeds. (We have lots of advice already about this on Rural Mom!)

Rodents And Smaller Animals

If you’re looking for a good starter pet for your child, then you may want to consider a rodent like a hamster or an animal that is smaller than a dog like a rabbit. One of the first points that you’ll need to consider is whether to keep an animal like this inside or outside. If you decide to keep them outside then they need to have the right living space.

Do be aware that these animals are always going to be prey to other animals like foxes so their habitat has to be secure. Similarly, if you are getting a rabbit then you’re better off investing in a couple. If you don’t, then you might find that your bunny gets a little lonely. This can lead to issues with wellbeing.

The good news is that an animal like this is often easy to manage and has a low cost. If you choose something like a hamster the cost will be even lower and there’s a short learning curve in terms of finding out how to keep an animal like this well looked after.


Finally, if you are looking for a four-legged friend that will slot right into your family unit then think about getting a cat. Cats are a great alternative to dogs, as they can be left alone for long periods without a care in the world. This means that if you are heading out to work long hours, as long as your cat has food then they will be alright while you’re out. You may not think that cats will wait behind the door like dogs do but this is not the case. They will in fact be waiting for you the second you walk through the door.

Cats also have amazing health benefits to their families. If you introduce cats to babies and young children then they will have amazing resistance to allergies. This is due to them developing immunity to the cat hair and dander. If you live on your own then cats can also curb loneliness. It can be isolating when you live on your own. However if you have your cat then this gives you someone to talk to. Talking to your cat and stroking them will encourage them to purr. A cat’s purr has been known to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

If you are looking to get a cat then make sure to check around rescue centers and shelters to see if you can rehome one. This is much better than getting one as a kitten. There are lots of cats out there that need loving, forever homes.

Bottom line

We hope this helps you understand the different pets that you can consider introducing into your family home. Do be aware that a lot of parents start with a smaller animal that is easier to care for. This helps before kids explore more exciting possibilities that take a little more work. That way, you can make sure your child has a pet that matches their level of development.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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