Hamster Club
Help Us
Hamster Shop Guest Book Contact Us



Cat, Dog or Hamster What to Consider Before Choosing Your First Family Pet

There comes a time in many households when the question: “Should we get a pet?” is asked around. Children are naturally more open to the idea of pets; in fact, they’re probably the ones asking their parents repeatedly for an adorable puppy or kitten!

Of course, as an adult, it’s up to you to make the most sensible decision for the family as a whole, and while you may secretly want a cute little dachshund puppy just as much as your little one, you must bring finances and the ability to commit into the equation.

So, if the idea of getting a new cat, dog, hamster—or any other type of pet—has been floating around, here’s what to consider before bringing one into your family home.

How Spacious is Your Home?

One of the first points you must consider is the size of your home, as some pets require more room to run and play than others. A hamster won’t take up too much space—they simply need an enclosure around 100cm x 50cm. However, a larger dog will need lots of room and would benefit from a reasonably sized backyard. Most cats can live in smaller homes, but it’s still good for them to have space to go off on their own now and again (especially when younger children are around).

How Healthy Are Your Finances?

You shouldn’t get a pet until you are sure you can financially cover everything that comes with it, as looking after a pet properly comes with a mixture of large one-off payments and ongoing costs. How much you pay depends on the animal: a dog will cost more than a cat, which will cost more than a hamster. Here are just some of the items and services you’ll need to pay for during your time as a pet owner:

•    Toys
•    Food
•    Litter tray (for cats)
•    Vet bills
•    Enclosures (for rodents/reptiles)
•    Pet insurance

An ongoing cost like pet insurance is one to think about early on, as the monthly payments differs for cats and dogs. Typically, getting pet insurance for cats is a little less expensive than it is for dogs, so that’s definitely a consideration.

It’s best to use a plan that can be customized to your pet, such as Toto Pet Insurance, as this will cover you for expenses including emergency vet visits, alternative therapies, medications, and more. It’s also better to make small, regular payments than be overwhelmed with a sudden high vet bill!

How Old Are Your Kids?

Your children’s age should play a part in deciding what kind of pet you get. Many parents assume a small rodent like a hamster would be great for their little ones. However, the reality is often different from expectations: while hamsters make fantastic pets, they are also nocturnal, meaning your little one might only see their cute little friend occasionally! Plus, they need very gentle handling.

Getting a cat or dog for a younger kid to grow up with is always a nice idea, as both types of pets make great additions to any family, and your little one can bond with either a cat or a dog. When it comes to these pets, it’s best to look into the best breeds for families. For example, Labrador Retrievers and Beagles are known for being fantastic with children!

Does Anyone in Your Household Have Allergies?

Nobody wants to be constantly itching and sneezing in their own homes, so consider first if anyone in your family has a pet allergy. They’re quite common, as between 10-20% of people in the world are allergic to cats and dogs. If someone in your house is allergic, it’s best to pick a low-allergen pet. Furthermore, some animals such as certain birds, fish, and rodents, don’t trigger any allergies at all.

How Much Free Time Do You Have?

All pets require at least some of your time—even low-maintenance fish. Of course, how much of a time commitment you need to give depends on which pet you get, which is why it’s so important to thoroughly assess how much free time you have.

On the upper end of the spectrum are dogs, who require a lot of care and attention; you’ll need to take them on walks, pick up their poop around three times a day, and play with them.

While not as high-maintenance as dogs, cats also require you to be there for them at least a few times a day, whether that’s for feeding or playtime. However, older cats can typically be left alone for up to 24 hours on occasion, and the same goes for rodents.

If you’re at work most of the day with nobody home, a cat or rodent rather than a dog might be the best option. If you truly want a dog, make sure that there is someone there for them most of the day (typically, you shouldn’t leave a dog alone for more than around 6 hours). And keep in mind that puppies require even more attention!

Do You Own Your Own Home?

If you own your own home, you have complete say over what kind of pet you get; but the same can’t necessarily be said if you rent a place, as you’ll need to get your landlord’s approval before getting a pet. Some landlords will be open to you getting a cat, dog, hamster, or any other type of typical household pet—whereas others might not be as lenient.

Which Pet is Best for Families?

In the end, which pet is best for you is entirely dependent on your individual family. If you have a decent-sized home and time to put into training—and your family loves the idea of getting a puppy—then a dog makes sense! If you don’t have as much space or time to spare, a pet like a hamster can be the perfect tiny addition. Just keep in mind that all pets come with their own needs, so always do your research before purchasing a new pet.

Join Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Hamster Newsletter by sending an email to info@hamster-club.com


Send Your Pictures

You can send us your hamster 
photos on nadia@hamster-club.com and these will be uploaded to our facebook page and/or our hamster site.