Pets are a great addition to the family. Whether you live alone and want companionship, in a relationship and looking for an opportunity to take on the next challenge, or wanting to add a new member to your growing brood. No matter what the reason, pets provide a chance for a lot of love, a new way to connect with your family and a way to teach responsibility and accountability at a young (or old!) age. But how do you get started?

Do The Research

When you have young children, getting a pet for the first time can be tricky. The best way to approach it is, well, by being realistic. Start by asking yourself the following questions?

How much time do I have to spend with a pet?

Do I have time to housebreak or train a pet?

How much money should I have the allocate monthly for a pet?

You and your family may really want a dog, but if you don’t have space, time or funds to take care of one well you should probably try a different route for now. I like to call these “starter pets”. Fish are the classic starter pet, followed by turtles. In my view, turtles are one of the more underrated pets. They’re low maintenance but still have personality. They live for years without a lot of trips to the veterinarian. They’re friendly but can manage on their own during the day.

Setting Up Expectations

You’ve asked yourself the big questions and decided on the pet that your family is ready for. Now it’s time to make sure you, your partner, and your kids are all on the same page about what having a family pet will require. Make sure to have this talk before taking a trip to the pet store or shelter, because once you and your family are there it might be pretty tough to get the kids to listen to anything. I’m a fan of a chore wheel and having it set up prior to having the family discussion, this way everyone knows exactly what their role in getting a new pet is.

If you’re getting a bigger pet, like a dog, try acting like you have a dog for a month. Put aside the amount of money you would be spending each month, practice taking walks in the mornings and evenings just as you would with a dog. If you’re going out of town think about if you would be able to take your pet or not and plan accordingly. The purpose of this exercise is not to dissuade your family from getting a pet but to start getting in the routine of having one.

Now the fun part: Getting a pet! Head over to your local animal shelter, or take a look at the ASPCA website if your city doesn’t have a shelter and they can point you in the right direction. Shelters are also a great resource if you cannot commit to adopting right now, but want to volunteer with your kids.

Share with Us!

We love seeing pictures of your growing family. Take a picture of your new pet with your matching WubbaNub and tag us on social media! Whether it’s the Brown Puppy, Grey Kitten or Baby Bunny we want to see what baby’s first friend looks like with families first pet!