So your family has decided to get add a new pet. Which type of pet should you get? A cat? A dog? A goldfish? Maybe a horse. When choosing to add a new pet to your family, you must be willing to accept responsibility for the health and welfare of another living being. You have to make a promise to take care of the new pet for the rest of his or her entire life. You must also be willing to be responsible for the impact that your new pet will have on your family, friends, and the community you live in.
Your experience of owning a pet will be more enjoyable if you first carefully consider what type of pet best suits your family, your home, and your lifestyle. Unfulfilled expectations are one the most common reasons why people surrender, give away, or abandon pets, so be sure to invest ample time and effort in researching the best pet for you to ensure that the remaining years with your pet are happy and healthy ones.
Ask yourself the following questions to help ensure the pet you want is the right pet for you and your family:
Do you already have any pets? If you do already have pets, will your current pets accept another pet of the same or a different species? If you’re not certain, contact your veterinarian and see if they can help you determine if the new pet will be a good fit for your current pets.
What are you looking for in a pet? The pet you choose with vary depending on your answer to this question. A goldfish would make a horrible choice for a cuddle buddy and an iguana might not make the best jogging companion. Carefully considering this question can help you make the best decision on what type of pet you really want. Also, consider the experience level and abilities of the caretakers and whoever will be responsible for providing the pet with most of its care. If you have young children, a pet that requires extensive care may not be a good choice. Although owning a pet is a good lesson on responsibility for children, you can not leave a young child with the sole responsibility of providing a pet with basic life needs, such as food and medical care.
Do any laws or your rental agreement limit your choice of pet? Many rental agreements specifically restrict the type or number of pets that you can have. While some do not allow any pets at all, others may simply have a limit on the size of pets allowed. Furthermore, some species or breeds of pets are banned by certain building, town, county, or state ordinances. If you live in the city, your choice of pets may also be limited. For example, some towns will allow rabbits as pets while others strictly forbid them. Aside from any ordinances, you will also need to consider any exercise or living arrangements necessary for your prospective pet to live a good quality of life. While your town may not necessarily ban chickens, a small pen in the backyard may not be the healthiest or happiest life for them.
Are you able to provide the amount of attention the pet will need? How many years are you willing to commit yourself to caring for your pet. Some species can live for several decades while others may only have a life span of a few years. Some species of birds have even been known to live for more than 100 years. Make sure that you thoroughly research the life span and health needs of any pet you consider getting. You don’t want to get a pet thinking that they’ll only live for a few years when, in reality, they are more likely to live for a few decades.
Can you afford to take care of your pet? While doing your homework, make sure that you research the cost of caring for your pet. A fish or hamster may only cost a few dollars each month to take care of while some species or breeds may have special needs that require extensive cost and effort. Consider all of your pets needs for food, housing, socialization, exercise, grooming, and veterinary care and be sure that you can afford the money and time to provide that care for them. Every pet requires at least some financial commitment, but some pets require very expensive care to live a good quality of life.
How much time will you be able to give to your pet? If you require long hours at work or several days for traveling, you may want to be careful when choosing the type of pet for you. If you do intend to spend hours or even days away from your pet, you may want to begin shopping for kennels or pet sitters prior to bringing your new pet home.