Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

5 Things You Should Do Before Buying a Family Pet

When you decide it’s time for a family pet, you should do some in-depth planning before buying a pet. Don’t buy a pet based on the personal memories you have of your childhood pet. Most likely, the lifestyle you and your kids are living is not the same as the lifestyle you and your parents had. The pet you buy should be one that fits your current lifestyle and living situation.


One of the first things to consider when choosing a family pet is your budget. It’s not just the purchase price that you need to consider. You need to factor in everyday costs such as food along with long-range expenses such as immunizations and routine health care. Some pets require grooming so that is a cost to consider. If special accommodations need to be made such as fencing in the yard or buying a dog house, this can also impact the budget. Cages for small animals are generally a one-time purchase but bedding and food are consistent expenses.

Educate Yourself

If you’re considering adding a pet to the family that you aren’t familiar with, do some research on how to care for that pet. You could schedule a visit at a local veterinary hospital to discuss dog or cat breeds or to find out what type of small animal would fit into your budget and your family’s lifestyle. Veterinarians can give you information regarding the temperament, care and life expectancy of various type of pets.

Discuss Responsibility

As a parent, you’re the one who must lead the discussion on responsibility regarding pet care. The age and maturity level of your children will impact how much responsibility you can expect them to assume. You’ll also have to decide how much time you are willing to devote to pet care.

When to Buy a Pet

If you’re buying an indoor pet, the time of year you purchase it is not a great concern. If you’re buying a puppy or kitten, you should purchase it whenever the family has the most time to dedicate to care and training. The warmer months are more ideal than the winter months for housebreaking a puppy. Also, you wouldn’t want to get a kitten right before you leave for vacation. It’s very important to have bonding time when you bring a pet home.

Living Arrangement

Decide where the pet will live before you bring it home. If it’s a bird, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig or rabbit, know where you’ll put the cage. If you’re getting a dog, decide if it will be indoors, outdoors or both and have the proper bedding or housing ready when the dog or puppy arrives at your house. Set up a cat’s feeding area, litter box and a scratching post or cat tree before they arrive. This gives you a head start on pet training.

You should choose carefully and wisely when bringing a pet into your home. Pets provide love, comfort and entertainment for the whole family. Keeping them healthy and happy is a responsibility you want to remain dedicated to.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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