Choosing a Pet
The key to enjoying the healthiest and most satisfying relationship with a pet is realistically choosing one whose needs are most compatible with your lifestyle. It’s easy to fall in love with a cute puppy or kitten you might encounter, but the realities of pet responsibilities may present unforeseen challenges.
Determining what type of pet is right for you is the first step to settling into a fulfilling life with a fuzzy new friend. Learn how to make an educated decision about pet ownership, and start reaping the many benefits of animal companionship!
Finding a pet that meets your needs and lifestyle
Pets are treasured as members of the family by millions of people around the world. Numerous studies have shown that people who have pets tend to be happier, more independent and feel more secure than those without pets. But what type of pet is best for you? You’ll benefit most from having a pet whose needs are compatible with your lifestyle and physical capabilities.
Lifestyle considerations that influence your choice in a pet
- Little outdoor activity - If most of your time is spent at home, consider pets that would be happy to stay with you in that environment. You may enjoy playing with or cuddling a cat or a bunny; watching fish or reptiles; or talking or singing along with a bird.
- High activity level – If you’re more active and enjoy daily activities outside of your home, especially walking or running, a dog might be right for you. Canine companions thrive on outdoor exercise, keeping you on the move. Plus, the social element of doggie outings encourages interaction with other people you meet along the way.
- Small children and the elderly - Families with small children or elderly living in their homes should consider the size and energy level of a pet. Puppies and kittens are usually very active, but delicate creatures that must be handled with care. Large or rambunctious dogs could accidentally harm or knock over a small child or adult who is unsteady on their feet.
- Other animals in household – Consider the ongoing happiness and ability to adjust of the pets you already have. While your cat or a dog might love to have an animal friend to play with, a pet that has had exclusive access to your attentions may resent sharing you.
- Home environment - If a neat, tidy home, free of animal hair, occasional muddy footprints and “accidents” is important, then a free-roaming dog or long-haired cat may not be the best choice. You may want to choose pets that are confined to their quarters, such as fish, birds, or a turtle/
- Landscaping concerns – With certain pets, your landscaping will suffer. Many dogs will be tempted to dig holes in your lawn, and dog urine can leave yellow patches – some say unaltered females cause the most damage.
- Time commitment - Finally, and perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that you’ll be making a commitment that will last the lifetime of the pet – perhaps 10, 15, or 20 years with a dog or cat; as many as 30 years or more with a bird.
Reprinted with the permission of Helpguide. © 2001-2008. All rights reserved.
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