Nearly every family will have had that conversation with their kids. No, not that one...the other one, where children expertly pester their parents to cave in and get a dog or a cat. All parents know they can't indulge every whim of children, so here are a few signs your family is ready to take the plunge and think about getting a pet:

Your family is allergy-free
You'd think this would be obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't think this point through before bringing home a pet. Before you take the plunge, why not spend some time around other animals? You could foster a pet, or offer to look after friends' pets (particularly if they're a similar breed to what you're looking for) to eliminate the possibility of any surprise allergies rearing their ugly heads.

You live in a pet-friendly environment
Again, you'd be surprised how many people don't give this enough thought. Is your home the appropriate environment for the dog, cat or other pet you're thinking of getting? Do you have adequate ventilation? (Pets can be a smelly business, as many pet owners will know.) If you're getting a dog, will they be able to go for walks easily? Finally, if you're a renter - do the terms of your lease allow pets? Doing your homework goes a long way.

You have the time to look after them
Are you a workaholic who's never home? Maybe you should re-think getting a pet that needs a lot of attention and socialising, unless of course your family is willing to work together to make sure your pet is regularly fed, exercised and generally happy and comfortable at all times. If you have kids, this can be a good conversation to have with them - and a good way for them to learn how to manage their time.

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You have the money to look after them
If your new pet suddenly falls ill or is in an accident, will you be able to afford to take them to the vet? Likewise, do you have enough money to cover any regular medical check-ups and procedures they'll need? Talk to your local vet and do your homework first. You'll thank yourself later.

Your kids are committed to the idea
For families with young kids, this can be a big part of the process. After all, we're guessing you don't want to get stuck being the only one who looks after the new cat, dog or rabbit. Sit your kids down and go through all the different tasks and jobs involved in having a pet. Who will take care of what? Will they get pocket money for it? Kids can be fickle and you want to make sure the novelty of a new pet doesn't wear off too fast. Make sure your children know that a pet is for life.