Today I am going to write about how to choose the best pet for different lifestyles. I actually did a speech on this my freshman year at SMSU and I still “preach” it to this day. Everyone should know that when you are choosing a pet you should think about your life style and where you live. I’m sure it is obvious that if you are living in an apartment you should probably not have a big pet like a great Dane or mastiff and you should not have a high maintenance pet if you are never home. But what some people do not know is that some species of animals are not good to have if you live certain lifestyles.
In this post I am not going to go over every breed of pet and what lifestyle they would be best for (I have links below to tests that can help you with that) but I am going to talk about some general rules you should take into consideration when thinking about buying/looking to buy a pet. I found a good article by DVM Ron Hines that summarizes the top “do’s and don’ts” of choosing the right pet. He lists consists of the following:
1. No Impulse Shopping. Do not buy or adopt a pet just because you want one right that moment. You should think about the long-run of having a pet instead of buying the pet just because it is cute. You need to think of your needs first before your wants. DO NOT BE IMPULSIVE.
2. Shop Around. Take your time learning about the pet you are thinking about buying. Veterinarian certified websites or your local veterinarian is probably the best place to ask questions about different pet options without getting a bias answer. You can ask a pet shop or read a book on the animal but both may be bias on their answers. They tend to over look the negative aspects of that breed or species of animal. Remember that a new pet can change the structure of the family and needs to be accepted by everyone in the immediate family.
3. Visit the Humane Society and Animal Rescue Organizations. Walk-through visits to a local humane society or small animal rescue organization is a good way to see many different types of pets and their unique characteristics. Do not simply judge an animal from what everyone is saying about it when walking by. Try a quiet one-on-one to observe their positive and negative aspects for yourself. Animals tend to act more like themselves in quiet, relaxing situations.
4. Match Your Pet to Your Lifestyle. For instance if you are a night person get a animal that is more active at night then in the day. If you work long hours get a animal that is okay with being alone for long periods of time. There are many different aspects of your lifestyle you might have to put into account when choosing an animal. Check out the links below to test and see what pet might be best for you and your lifestyle.
5. Match Your Pet to Your Home Environment. When choosing a pet you need to think about not only your lifestyle but where you live. How much “free” space is there? Is there much of a backyard and is it fenced? Will your neighbors be affected by the pet? Can you have pets if you are renting where you live? questions like this will greatly affect what kind of pet you might be thinking about getting.
6. Decide Why You Want a Pet. When you are thinking about getting a pet think about why you might want that pet. Instead of children do you want a pet? (there is nothing wrong with that). Do you want an independent pet that requires little affection or an energetic companion who you can exercise with and be active with. Do you want to be able to play with it and hold it? Do you want to teach it tricks and train it? Many families get pets for their children which is great but do not buy a child a pet to teach them responsibility. Owning a pet and being forced to care for it does not teach responsibility. Ultimately be prepared to care for the pet yourself if the child ends up not wanting to care for it anymore.
7. Decide if this is the Right Time in Your Life to Get a Pet. Ultimately figure out if this is the right time in your life to buy a pet. If you have another pet figure out if they would get along with the new addition. Find out how well your human relationships are because if they are not stable then getting a pet together might not be the best. Also think about your own health. If you cannot take care of yourself how are you expected to take care of a pet? If you were to pass away who would the pet go to? would it go to a shelter? would a family member of friend take it? These are things you should also think about when choosing a pet.
8. Decide How Long You Want Your Pet To Live. This may sound weird but think about the lifespan of the pet you are thinking about getting. An average lifespan of a dog and cat are between 12 to 16 years (some longer), while tortoises and goldfish have lifespans about as long as human lifespans. Small birds live between 8 to 14 years and larger birds live 35 to 60 years, while rodents/small critters live between 3 to 6 years. In the end, think about how long a certain pet might live and how that fits into your lifespan also.
9. Decide if You are Able to Meet this Pet’s Specific Needs. Look into how much care the pet you are thinking about getting would need. Talk to local owners of that certain pet (if you can) to see what they have to say about the care of their pet(s). You need to think about if you have enough time to feed and clean the pet/clean up after the pet. Some pets need more attention physically and emotionally than others. If you do not have time to play with certain species they can become bored and start acting out or having behavior issues.
10 Cost. Besides the initial price of buying the pet you also need to think about how much you are willing to spend on the pet annually. Some other things you need to spend money on for a pet are: buying a suitable home or cage for the animal, food and other dietary needs, toys/other accessories, training, veterinarian care, grooming and pet sitters if need be.
In the end, when choosing the right pet you need to think of many aspects besides just buying the pet itself. Some species of animals may fit your lifestyle better than others. Hopefully this top 10 list helps a little when it comes to deciding what pet is best for you. Below I have a few articles that go into detail about how to choose what species of animal is best for you and your lifestyle. I also have a few links to tests you can take to see what type of pet is best for you and what breed of dog and cat is best for you. Ultimately everyone is free to choose whatever animal they want but just know that you are not only responsible for yourself but that pet also.
Remember pets are “forever” pets, not “until” pets.
here are my links:
http://www.2ndchance.info/choospet.htm (The article I got the top 10 list from, also goes into the benefits of each species of pet someone can own)
http://bestfriends.org/resources/pet-care/general-pet-care/getting-started/choosing-the-right-pet-for-you/ (A article from Best Friends Animal Society on how to choose the best pet and questions you need to ask yourself before buying a pet)
http://www.aspca.org/adopt/adoption-tips/right-pet-you (Article from the ASPCA on how to know what pet is best for you)
http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/pet-picker-quiz/ (A quiz from Animal Planet to see what pet is best for you)
http://www.parents.com/parents/quiz.jsp?quizId=/templatedata/ab/quiz/data/100.xml (A quiz from Parents.com to see what pet is best for your family)
http://www.pedigree.com/all-things-dog/select-a-dog/ (A quiz from Pedigree on what dog breed is best for you)
http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html (A quiz from Animal Planet on what dog breed is best for you)
http://www.animalplanet.com/breedselector/catselectorindex.do (A quiz from Animal Planet on what cat breed is best for you)
https://www.purina.com/cats/cat-breeds/cat-breed-selector (A quiz from Purina on what cat breed is best for you)