A family pet can be a treasured member of the family. Every family will differ in the type of pet that can be accommodated, so when your child is really begging for one you’ll need to really think about what your child (and you) can handle.

A dog is a popular choice for families, and it can be fun to have “man’s best friend” around. Dogs are great pets, but it is like having an additional child. Dogs need attention and care, bathroom trips outside, and food can be expensive. We tried having dogs. When Derek and Kira were little, they talked us into getting a dog. They were going to take care of walking the dog, cleaning up after the dog, playing with the dog…

That lasted until the first snow.

The last dog we had ended in heartbreak. Parker developed allergies to basically everything with fur. It took us almost a year to realize his illness was related to our pets, but the result was having to find a new home for them.

We had tried our hand at cats, but Parker’s allergies to everything with fur and my allergies to anything that meows ended our tryst with four-legged friends. If your child is begging for a pet, double-check that everyone in the household can handle its presence and that the family as a whole is willing to take care of it.

You should also keep in mind that there are many pet options. My favorite pets have been birds and fish. They suit our lifestyle better, can handle a few days on their own when we travel, and still offer lots of caretaking opportunties for the kids.

Pets can be a great addition to the family, but prepare your children especially for the responsibilities it will entail.