Are you looking to get a pet for you or your family?
All families have different needs, and while one animal may be a perfect fit for one, it may not be compatible with yours.
There are a lot of different considerations that you need to take into account before committing to a pet. One wrong decision can make your life harder—and that of the animal’s. Pets are a long-term responsibility. So, it is always a good idea to do research instead of impulsively getting an animal just because it looks cute.
In the next few blog posts, we consider the dos and don’ts of choosing the right pet, so you can look forward to a lifetime of pet parent fun and happiness.
Important Considerations: Questions You Should Ask Yourself
There are a few things that you should keep in mind when looking for the right addition to join your family:
● Do you already have any pets?
If you already have non-human members in your family, the first thing you should consider when looking to add another pet is to evaluate whether or not your current pet will be able to adjust to the presence of the new one.
While some animals need a few months to be slowly introduced, others don’t ever get along well. This is especially true when one animal has strong hunting instincts, and the other one is prey.
● What are you looking for in a pet?
You should look at your needs and expectations from the animal. Do you want something that’s low-maintenance like a fish, or do you want an actual companion you can hang out with?
This varies from person to person, so be honest with yourself.
● Do local laws or your housing arrangement limit your choice of pet?
Look into your housing arrangement and the locale to decide which pets you can have. Some laws prevent people from getting exotic animals, while some housing arrangements are specific as to the pets a resident is allowed to have.
● Are you able to provide the amount of attention your pet will need?
Different pets need different amounts of attention. While some may need little or no attention, others need extensive training and care. You need to figure out the amount of time you can make available for your pet.
● Can you afford the costs of caring for your pet?
Pets come with a lot of additional expense which include medical, food, equipment like a water filter, aquarium, treats, cage, etc. so, you should look at the associated costs and figure out what suits your budget.
● How long will you be away from your pet?
Are you at home all the time, or do you spend most of the time outside? While some pets are low maintenance and do good alone, others need a companion and the owner’s attention.
● Who will care for your pet in your absence?
Do you spend a lot of time out of town? If you do, then you need to figure out who will take care of your pet while you are away. In this case, you shouldn’t consider pets that need a lot of attention and taking care of. You should also figure this in when doing your budget, as kenneling for example, can be costly.
● What future changes might occur in your living situation that would affect your ability to keep your pet in years to come?
You need to look at what your life might look like in the next five years. Do you see yourself moving abroad or across the country? Some changes in your living situation can adversely affect your ability to keep your pet.
● Do your family members have any allergies?
Getting an allergy test done on all the members of your family can help you figure out whether there could be any potential allergic reactions (more cost!). There can be few things worse than falling in love with a new fur baby and then having to give it up for adoption if a family member turns out to be allergic.
● Pedigree v Take Me!
While getting a show-quality animal may be cool, do consider adopting as well. You’ll be able to provide a sweet and innocent animal with a great and loving home. Also remember in many cases “mutts” can be much smarter than their pedigree buddies. No offence to ‘Best in Show’ :))
● One or two? Some animals are much happier in pairs
Some animals don’t do too well in isolation and are happier in pairs—usually, male-female pairs do much better than male-male pairs. Having two animals is better if you spend most of your time outside, or if you are away for long periods of the day. Remember “twos company”.
● OOOPS PUUUUPS!
A cautionary note, if you do choose to have a male and a female (or indeed just a female, the neighbor’s males are always sniffing) remember nature takes its course! Even the most vigilant animal parents have had a OMG moment. So be prepared to be extra vigilant. If you’re not, be prepared to revisit your budget for either the incremental cost (not to mention time) of additional family members, neutering costs, finding new homes or indeed all of the above! OOUCH!!
Read on for more information as to which pet might be the best fit for your family.