With the recent release of the movie ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, many families are considering adding a furry friend to their household. Here are the benefits (and drawbacks) of common pets:


Dogs are a great pet for kids- of all the pets they are probably the most tolerant of ‘rough’ play. (Although they still don’t like ears and tails pulled!) But they come with a lot of responsibility and require a lot more time and attention than many other pets.

  • Dogs are a big deterrent for thieves (even the yappy ones) and can be a great alarm system. I mean not all dogs- our family dog didn’t notice someone rifling through our garage last month- but most dogs are not terrible at this basic human-near-the-property detecting skill.
  • Okay so, basically people who have dogs are exposed to more germs. I know, that sounds yucky but actually it means you and your kids will have stronger immune systems. Same train of thought that goes with the ‘5 Second Rule‘ dads invented so they didn’t have to get a new fork for kiddo every time she chucks hers on the floor.
  • Fitness can be a tough habit to get into, and outdoor family activities aren’t always easy to facilitate every day. Walking the dog as a family can be a great way to be active on a regular basis, and teaches your children pet responsibility.
  • Going on vacation with a dog is really hard because you either have to plan a dog friendly vacation, find a pet sitter, or pay a lot of money to send them to a pet boarder. Even leaving the house for a long time can be hard since your pup relies on you to get outside and can only hold it for so long!


Cats are super low maintenance and there are some breeds and individual cats that are very tolerant of small children snuggles and chasing. Cats are good pets for kids of all ages, but your child must be aware of what can hurt kitty. They’re pretty sensitive about their tails and pack a mean set of claws if they don’t like something.

  • Some cats have a really strong scent and unless the box is cleaned every day or every other day you can end up with a room or home that smells of litter. Also, some cats have a tendency to track litter through the house no matter how many of those litter traps you get!
  • Some cats have a fascination with tearing up furniture and carpet even if you get scratching posts. Trying different scratching post materials like cardboard) can be really helpful in deterring this behavior. And if not, google claw caps- you can get them in insanely fabulous colors. Black cat with golden claws? Yes please.
  • Cats are really easy to take care of. They’re fine on their own for a couple days at a time with a clean litter box, plenty of water and a self feeder. Because they are so low maintenance, they can be a good starter pet for many families.


Fish can be a good pet for little kids, especially with the intrigue of movies like Finding Dory (although I wouldn’t start with a tropical tank for cost alone). It can teach them the responsibilities of feeding them daily without the hassle of picking up poo!

  • Fish are kind of easy to kill. I mean I’ve had some last years but some last a week with the same level of forgetting to feed them. On the plus side? Also really easy to replace because fish don’t really have obvious personalities. (That’s not speciesist is it?)


While the beaks can be a little intimidating, and I wouldn’t allow one to watch ‘The Birds’ for fear of a revolt; birds can be great (although surprisingly high maintenance) pets.

  • Some breeds of birds live a surprisingly long time, so you won’t have to deal with the ‘What happened to Polly’ conversation that can come a lot sooner with other pets i.e. mice, hamsters, etc.
  • Birds are really social and they love being chatted to, watching TV with your family and will happily perch on your shoulder for hours at a time.
  • Because birds are so social, they get lonely really easy. They need to be taken out of their cage on a regular basis and can’t be left alone for days on end.
  • Birds are shockingly messy creatures- you’re likely to have teeny bird seeds strewn throughout your carpet and grout no matter how much you Swiffer and vacuum.


Not all bunnies are plotting against humans! Bunnies can be a great pet for school age children, they are sweet and easily trained to use the litter box.

  • Bunnies are great for small homes and apartments because they’re so small! If you o have a yard, you can set up a small runner our of chicken wire for some nice outdoors time for your rabbit. They also make little bunny leashes and harnesses; can you imagine anything cuter than a tiny bunny in a bunny harness?
  • Rabbits are fragile and because of this, not always suitable for very small children who don’t yet understand the concept of being very gentle and quiet around small and sensitive creatures.