Over the last few weeks, we’ve written about Why You Should Adopt a Pet and how Animal Shelters and Rescues Work. Today we’re going to give you some tips on CHOOSING the right pet for you and your family.
The very first decision you have to make is what kind of pet would be right for your family. Will it be a dog, a cat, rabbits, fish, birds, or something more exotic like snakes or a ferret? There is certainly a wide variety of animals to choose from. We’re going to focus our suggestions to dogs and cats since they are by far the most common pet with 48% of households owning a dog and 38% owning a cat according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products. Still, many of our suggestion can naturally be applied to any pet you are considering.
Factors to consider when choosing a pet:
Your first decision is what breed of dog or cat do you want? Both dogs and cats come in all shapes and sizes as well as energy levels, grooming needs and personalities. You need to consider all of these factors when deciding on the type of pet and whether you want a purebred pet from a breeder or breed specific rescue, or whether you want to rescue a pet from the shelter.
Once you’ve decided on a dog or cat and the breed, the next question to tackle is whether you want a puppy, an adult or a senior pet? There are pros and cons to each, puppies are great fun, but a LOT of work. Seniors are usually very well-behaved and make great companions, but they might have existing medical issues. Be sure and weigh all the pros and cons of each age group.
It’s important that all family members are on board with the decision to get a pet. The entire family will be interacting with them, so it’s important they all know the new rules you want to instill. It doesn’t help if dad feeds the pup from the table when mom is trying to teach them not to beg! It’s also important to discuss responsibilities, who feeds the newcomer, who walks them, etc.
You should also consider any family health issues or allergies and plan accordingly.
Be aware of the costs associated with pet ownership. It’s one thing many people don’t factor into their decision. Pets require regular veterinary care, at least annual check-ups. And if they develop any medical issues, it can get quite expensive. You can mitigate that expense with pet insurance which works the same as human insurance with the insurer paying a portion of the medical care. This financial support is particularly important if you are adopting a senior pet.
There are also grooming costs to consider. A long-haired dog or cat may require regular grooming and even regular trips to the barber for a trim.
Both dogs and cats need exercise to keep in tip-top shape. We are suffering from a pet obesity problem in this country, as many pet owners don’t realize they are overfeeding their pets. This contributes to health issues and you should do your best to keep your pet at a normal weight.
Some pets require 2-3 hours of sustained exercise a DAY, yes, you read that right. That’s a couple of good long walks, a run or a long hike to keep them well-exercised. Some pets don’t require as much and are content with a leisurely stroll around the block. It’s critical that you know your pet’s needs before you fall in love with a breed that isn’t compatible with your lifestyle.
All these factors are important to consider when choosing a pet. We recommend a bit of research before making your decision. Read up on your breed and know what you are getting into before you fall in love with that cute puppy or kitten.