17th September, 2017 | 3 minutes

The great pet debate: how to choose the right pet for your family

by Bec Gleeson
Insurance Geek

Getting a pet is a rite of passage for many families. And it rightly requires some careful thinking to make sure you choose the most suitable animal and breed for your family and lifestyle.

Bringing an animal into your home is a big commitment, and it lasts long after the novelty of finding a cute puppy or kitten has worn off. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, the very first thing you have to ask is, “Are we ready for this?” Your pet will require food, water, exercise, shelter, regular check-ups at the vet, bookings at the boarding kennel or cattery if you go on holidays, bedding and more. All these things take time and money.

The great pet debate: how to choose the right pet for your family

Once you are sure you can keep up with these commitments, then the fun part starts. Finding a pet that your whole family will love can be a great exercise in negotiation skills – particularly if you are a cat person and your partner most definitely isn’t! Someone is going to have to relent. It’s also a process that requires research skills, to make sure that the breed you choose will be a good fit for your family.

So where do you start? Here are our tips for choosing the right pet:

First, choose the animal

Your first decision is what animal to get. This can be influenced by the size of your backyard, and the amount of time you can dedicate to your pet.

Cats, rabbits, birds, small reptiles and fish are ideal for small homes and apartments. These guys don’t need nearly as much space as dogs, nor do you need to spend as much time looking after them. Your feline, feathered and scaly friends entertain themselves, and tend to keep themselves clean and tidy. Easy.

Dogs are a different beast. Most canines crave attention from humans, and love to become part of your family or ‘pack’. They don’t like being left at home alone; and demand more of your time with exercise, training and outings. Yet they are wonderfully loyal and can bring plenty of joy into family homes.

The great pet debate: how to choose the right pet for your family

Then, choose the breed

Once you’ve decided on an animal, it’s time to select the breed. This can be hard work! There are hundreds of dog breeds out there, and loads of cat breeds, too.

The canine collection includes all the classics, from Poodles to Labradors to Pugs; plus new designer dog breeds like Labradoodles, Cockapoos and Schnoodles. These adorable pooches are in hot demand, and can have potential owners queuing up at breeders’ doors, eagerly awaiting the next litter.

There’s a lot to consider in choosing your pooch. You should think about:

  • How much exercise will it need? And how much you can give him/her?
  • How large will it grow?
  • Will it be an indoor or an outdoor dog?

For example, it’s probably not a wise idea to bring home a cute little border collie pup if you live in an inner-city terrace with a teeny tiny courtyard. The little pup will soon grow into a large dog that requires more exercise than you’re able to provide, particularly if you and your partner work and your kids are caught up in after-school activities.

When it comes to choosing a cat, it’s slightly less complicated – but it is still a good idea to do your research. Some cats are more independent than others, and would therefore cope much better if you leave them alone all day long.

There are many online pet selectors that can help you narrow down your search. Then, it’s a matter of finding a reputable breeder for the type of animal you’ve chosen. Of course, many pet owners are more than happy to choose a mixed breed dog or cat from an animal welfare group, and in doing so give the lucky animal a loving new home to live in.

The great pet debate: how to choose the right pet for your family

Finally, get your pet insurance

Once you’ve found the pet of your dreams, it’s time to protect yourselves against the nasty shock of vet bills that can pop up from time to time. By taking out pet insurance, you can gain coverage for most of these bills– giving you the peace of mind that your beloved pet can receive the best care possible when they are sick or injured. iSelect have partnered with Choosi to help you find the right pet insurance for your dog or cat.

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iSelect does not compare all products in the market. Not all products are available at all times. Any advice provided in this content is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice we give you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on our advice or purchasing any product.

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