Choosing the Right Pet for Your Family

Spring is a popular time for families to start thinking about adopting a new puppy or kitten for the family.  Maybe your family has already decided they are ready for a pet. Where to start and where to begin on your search is the question. Bringing home a new pet doesn’t affect only one person it affects the whole family.  Everyone should be involved in the process.  Do you have any other pets in your house, does anyone have allergies, and will someone be around to take care of this pet.

Some questions to ask yourself or family;

·What kind of pet do you want to own? You should do some research on how long the animal is going to live.

– Dogs can live 10-15 years

-Cats can live up to 20 years

-Horses can live up to 30 years

-Some birds will have to be included in your will

·Once you have narrowed down the kind of animal you and your family think is best or you want you need to ask some more questions.

-Look at your living space is it too small; do you live in a high-rise or have a back yard for this animal?

-Do you have enough room for this animal?

-Can you and your family give this animal what it needs?

-Don’t forget about vet cost, food, and other expenses.


Teach your child how to care for the pet.

·As a parent even though you want to teach your child how to care for this pet, you need to be prepared to also be the main care taker.

·Encourage your child to be part of the process.

·Picking out the bed, crate or cage.

·Talking about how it will need to be walked or taken outside frequently, or if it’s a bird or guinea pig that the cage will need to be cleaned.

·Picking out names

·This will show your child how to take responsibility for this new pet and be prepared that it is not just to play with.


If your family has decided on a dog you will also need to look at what is the best dog for children and the worst.

5 best dogs for children

·Beagle-has a great happy go lucky friendly personality. Love to play and there playful personality is what makes this a great kid dog.

·Pug- this outgoing dog is small bread that is great with children. It’s small size will not knock over your child and is very loyal.

·Labrador- This breed is very familiar and has been a favorite in the US for many years.  They are patience by nature will not mind a child hanging on them and is the most loyal dog you will have.

·Golden Retriever- This breed is very similar to the lab. They have a bit more energy than the lab. Very trainable if done early and can learn over 200 commands. Very good with children and also a loyal dog.

·Standard Poodle.  Yes this breed is very good for a family. Especially if there are allergies in the home. They are vey patience, easy to potty train, and highly intelligent. This breed is a family dog instead of a one owner dog. They love to play for hours on end.

5 Worst dogs for children

·Dalmatians-These are beautiful dogs but are known not to be around little ones. They can be easily startled and bite. Mostly because these breeds are known to go deaf.  Do your research before buying this breed if you have little ones in the home.

·Chihuahua.This breed is not good for young children or children to be around. A very nervous breed which will nip or bite children.  Because of it’s small size children will want to pick it up.

·Pit-Bull- This dog can be very aggressive. When they bite they go for the throat and don’t let go. Being around small children is not advised.

·Rottweiler- the years between 1979-1998 this breed held the 2 top breed of fatal bites. This is a breed that is unpredictable.

·Chow Chow has a quick temper and loves to bully. If any fear is shown this dog will act on it.  Small children may startle this dog and because of it long fur children might want to pull it.


Reptiles you will want to be careful because they produce salmonella. These include but not limited to corn snakes, bearded dragons, geckos and pythons.


Birds –These pets are not bad if you have a cat free home and children just want to watch.


This list does not mean that families should not get a family pet based on this. It is just to make you aware of some breeds that may not be suitable for young children. These breeds may be fine for older children. You will want to research and look into all breeds and pets before deciding on that perfect one. Remember this is 10-20 year comment or more. 


This article was featured in our Modern Parent segment on The Rhode Show! Click here to watch this episode and one very cute puppy!

Tracy Martin-Turgeon has been in the field of early childhood education for 22 years.  She started with The Children's Workshop in September 1999 as an assistant director for and has since served as director, regional, and currently as a VP regional overseeing seven facilities throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Early Childhood education from the University of RI. on Fox Providence’s morning television show, The Rhode Show.  In her role, Tracy enjoys most supporting and helping the staff, families, and children she works with every day. When she is not working, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and children.