Choosing a Family Pet


(Adopting a pet is a decision that should be given much consideration. Photo by Liana Moore.)

Choose the right family pet by considering space, activity, temperament, and allergies, so the match between pet and owner will be a long and happy one.

Deciding to get a pet for your home can be one of the biggest decisions that you will make. It is important to evaluate your lifestyle as well as your finances and your abilities to care for a pet before you make this commitment, as your pet will be around for many years.

Once the decision has been made to adopt a new pet, the pet choice can be narrowed down by taking a few things into consideration, such as space, activity, temperament, and allergies. Choosing the right family pet can lead to many years of a fulfilling pet/owner relationship, so take a moment to consider the following aspects of life prior to adopting a pet.


What type of lifestyle do you live? Is a lot of time spent at home, or are you going for most of the day only returning home to eat and sleep? A dog requires you to spend a fair amount of time at home as it needs attention in that it needs to be taken for walks and outside for the bathroom.

Trips to the dog park are important for it to get some energy out. A cat does not need the owner around much, just enough to leave out some food and water and to clean out the litter box. While it is not advisable to never spend time with a cat, they can tolerate it.

(A nearby dog park can substitue for a yard, and be a great way to socialize your pup. Photo by Liana Moore.)

Available Space for a Pet

A small apartment with little to no outdoor space is not a good match for a large dog or a dog breed that needs above-average exercise, such as Jack Russell. The small space can be made workable if there is a dog park or play area nearby and a commitment to taking the large and/or highly active dog there daily is kept. If that’s not a workable solution, a small apartment space might be better suited to adopting a cat or a smaller companion animal as a pet.

Match Activity Level to Pet

How much activity goes on inside and outside of the home? Is someone always at home, or is it rare for anyone to be at home? Every pet needs love and attention, but some will fare better than others at being left alone for hours on end. Dogs usually develop separation anxiety when their owners are away for most of the day, plus dogs require walking and playtime daily. If that time doesn’t fit into a busy daily schedule, consider adopting a lower maintenance animal as a pet.

Also think about the long term and where you will be living over the next few years. A pet is a lifelong commitment. If your living situation may change in the future to no longer accomodate a dog (or cat) you may want to hold off.

Pet Temperament

Small children make lots of noise; that’s a given; however, not all dog breeds will be happy about the noise and may become nervous or agitated. Cats don’t care much for noisy environments either; they will hide and make themselves scarce. Choose an even-tempered dog breed that is not sensitive to noise and handling if the household has small children.

Pet Allergies

When unsure if a pet allergy exists, spend some time in the home of a friend who owns a pet. If anyone in the family is allergic to pets or pet dander, it needs to be noted before adopting a pet. Pet dander can and does remain in a home for up to two years after a pet has moved out, so a family member with pet allergies could suffer for years even after a pet has been relocated.

Animal Care

Research and consider what all will be needed to care for a pet. Make sure thta you are prepared to have someone dependent on you.


Once you have made a decision to get a pet and which type will be the best fit for your family, check the local sheters and other rescue organization. Safe a life!

All of our rescue dogs have seemed to have known that they were rescued. And they have been so grateful for their second chance at a good life.

Choose the right family pet by considering space, activity, temperament, and allergies, so the match between pet and owner will be a long and happy one.

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Insider Families is a Colorado-based family travel publisher. We love the great outdoors. We feel grateful to live in the mountains of Colorado and see first hand how climate change is impacting our winters. It is important to us that we share with our readers and followers how they can help preserve what makes a place special. We make a point to learn about the local history and environment of the places we visit. When we visit the Golden Isles of Georgia you will find us making a stop at the Sea Turtle Sanctuary and learning about this endangered species. We return home with books on the subject and a desire to share that knowledge. We love nature and like to spend as much time in it as possible whether hiking a mountain, riding the BMX track, soaring down an alpine coaster or trying a new sport at the beach or lake.

Vail, CO

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