Choosing a family pet can be tricky business, owning a pet is a pretty serious long-term commitment. Our dog of 13 years recently passed away and we were devastated to say the very least. Lately there has been some talk in our household about whether it’s time to start looking for our next family pet, so we started exploring.

Pre-kids, finding a pet consisted of me looking through the Sunday times classifieds (yep, I’m from the old school) and selecting a couple of dogs to go check out on a Sunday afternoon. No consideration as to how to look after the new dog or where it was going to sleep, not much thought even went into what breed would suit best. By pure chance, my husband and I got very lucky with the dog we chose, flash forward thirteen years and two children later we may just be ready to welcome the next furry member into our family. This time however we’ll be putting a little more thought into pet ownership. There is a whole bunch of things that you should consider when choosing a family pet, especially if you have smaller children.


If you’re considering a cat or a dog as a pet, you should have a think about what breed would suit your family. How much free time can you and your family allocate to your pet? Choosing an active large breed, be prepared to set aside time every day for exercising, smaller breeds will generally need less exercise.

Smaller pets like guinea pigs or rabbits make great first-time pets for young children. Their friendly nature is perfect, however sometimes they can be a little stinky!

Perth has an abundance of great dog beaches, perfect for exercising your furry friend.


Different kinds of pets and even different breeds have very different costs involved. The ongoing costs can soon add up and eat into your family budget. Some costs to consider include;

• Council registration and microchipping
• Pet food
• Vet visits for vaccinations and check-ups
• Pet training like puppy pre-school and dog obedience classes are a great idea for setting boundaries for your pet
• Professional grooming
• Indoor bedding and outdoor shelter


Having enough space indoors and outdoors should help to determine the size of your chosen pet. Think about;

• The size of your backyard and if there is sufficient existing shelter
• Will your pet spend most of its time indoors? If so, do you need to section off a safe pet space for them?
• Do they have a specific area for toileting?

Caring for your pet

Some pets may require a little extra attention, such as specific needs or dietary requirements. You might also find that popular pure-bred dogs can have a few health issues including skin disorders and breathing difficulties. Make sure you get clued up on the pros and cons of a few different dog breeds. It’s recommended that cats are kept indoors, ensuring that they stay safe from outside dangers. You can always keep them amused with a scratching post and plenty of toys for pouncing practice!

Of course, all pets need lots of love and cuddles, just be mindful when selecting a suitable pet for your family. There are many shelters here in Perth including Dogs Refuge Home and Cat Haven (Shenton Park) and the RSPCA (Malaga) who can assist you on your family pet finding journey. These organisations will be able to offer you some great insights about the animals in their care. Be sure to contact them in advance as you may now need to make an appointment thanks to COVID.

Have a photo of your beloved family pet? Post them below as we would love to see them!