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Are you considering getting a cat, a dog, a goldfish, iguana, or any other family pet? Most families decide on buying a pet after the children have been begging for one for a long time, sometimes years. What should you consider before bringing your new friend home?

1. Do you really feel like living with an animal?

Puppies and kittens are cute, snakes are amazing, and birds sing nicely. Most folks who have a heart can bring themselves to get all weak and floppy when they see a baby animal looking at them, and perhaps licking them. But do you think you can bear living with that animal every day? If thinking about it gives you a headache, don't take that step.

2. Who will look after the pet?

Nearly all kids who want a pet will promise to feed, walk and clean the animal they want (where applicable, that is). Few stick to their promises, and mom or dad usually end up looking after the pet. Are you willing to do this? If not, how sure are you that your child will really, really take responsibility?

3. How much will it cost?

Some pets are really expensive. Budget before getting a pet take into account both money and time when you do this. Dogs, for instance, will need trips to the vet, deworming and delousing, food, treats, toys, and to be taken outside regularly. Some think the couch is a nice chewtoy. These are all things to consider.

4. How long will your pet live?

Cats can live for 20 or more years, a parrot can live to be 100, and most dogs can stay with you for a decade and a half. Terrapins can live for 15 to 30 years. Do you want to commit to being with your chosen pet for that long? (Pretty much impossible in the case of a parrot!)

5. How will your pet fit into your family?

Is your pet compatible with young children? Are your kids likely to be aggressive to your pet? Is anyone in your family allergic? Will you be able to devote enough time to your pet? In short, will you be happy with your pet, and will your pet happy with you?

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