Pets bring joy, comfort, and purpose into many people’s lives. However, it is important to select the right pet for you or both you and the pet will be miserable. A pet should only be acquired after conducting thorough research and thinking the decision through carefully. There are several important aspects of your lifestyle to consider when selecting the right pet.
Caring for any pet will consume some of your free time, but some pets are more time-demanding than others. A pet fish might require around an hour a week of maintenance, while a pet cat requires daily feeding, litter box cleaning, and social interaction. If you have a busy, over-scheduled life, look for a low-maintenance type of pet. in addition, some pets, such as dogs, cats, and birds, need plenty of daily companionship. If you are routinely gone for 12 hours a day, you might want to opt for a pet fish or turtle instead.
Even if you have a fenced backyard, practically all dogs need to be walked daily. Many dogs are not content with a leisurely stroll around the block, either, and are best owned by people who go jogging or take brisk walks several times a week. Be honest with yourself: if you are a natural couch potato or prefer to exercise only at the gym, an active breed of dog is not going to fit well into your lifestyle.
You will be the sole provider of everything the pet needs to have a happy, high-quality life. Make sure you are up to the task. Note that some pets require considerably more skill to maintain than others. Pet cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and small rodents can be cared for by practically anyone. The level of skill required to keep fish varies dramatically by the type of fish; if you are new to fish-keeping, make sure you start with a “beginner” type of fish. Similarly, birds, reptiles, and amphibians can be sorted into “beginner” and “advanced” skill-level species. Dogs can also be sorted into “easy” breeds and ages and more demanding and difficult breeds and ages. Taking in a puppy of a difficult breed can be a daunting task, far beyond the skill level of most individuals; conversely, adopting a fully trained adult of an “easy” breed is well within the skill level of most people.
You should also consider the average lifespan of pets before you select one. You need to be prepared to keep the pet for its entire natural life. A pet rat would be expected to live for only two years; dogs live for 12 to 15 years; cats can live into their late teens to early 20s; and some birds and turtles can live for 100 years or more. Taking in a young cockatoo expected to live for 50 years is a far different level of commitment than adopting an elderly cat.
Pets cost money. When considering whether you can afford a pet, remember that the purchase price of the pet is usually insignificant in comparison to the ongoing maintenance costs. The cost of the equipment to maintain the pet can, in some cases, vastly exceed the cost of the pet itself. For example, a $6 fish might need a $1000 home to live in. A cat may seem to be a fairly cheap type of pet, but don’t forget to factor in veterinarian care, such as yearly wellness visits and pet insurance premiums. If you opt to skip pet health insurance, you will need to have ready access to a significant amount of cash if the animal suffers an injury or develops an illness.
If you live in a cramped apartment, you need to consider how much space you can devote to a pet. For example, a habitat for a gerbil requires far less space than one for a large python. Potential dog owners also need to be realistic: it is much easier to care for a dog of any size when you have a fenced yard for potty breaks. If you don’t have a door that opens into a fenced area, someone is going to have to take the dog out multiple times per day, every day, even in horrible weather, unless you opt for a very small breed that can be litter box trained.
Once you have made your decision and located a reputable, humane source to obtain your pet from, you need to prepare for its arrival by acquiring the basics like food, a cage, toys, leashes, litterboxes, and so forth. Sign your new pet up for health insurance, a training class, and a veterinarian wellness check-up before you bring the pet home. You want your first few days together to go smoothly instead of sprinting off to the pet store to grab something you forgot or worrying about whether you have the right kind of food.