You have just decided you would like a pet. Now what? Well, now you have a lot of things to consider before committing to caring for another life. You need to think about what type of pet you would like. How about a big fuzzy dog, or maybe you would want a small scaly lizard? Perhaps you’re a cat person, or you would rather have something a cat would like to eat. When considering potential pets, it is important that you recognize your lifestyle. Which animals and breed would fit that, the type of maintenance and potential vet care they may require and the amount of knowledge you may already have about them. Many things come into play when searching for the right companion. Choose carefully because once you get the pet, you have to make a lifelong commitment.
Where should you begin? The easiest part of doing is to decide what type of animal you would like: dog, cat, birds, hamsters, lizard, etc. Once you know what you would want, your next step would be to explore the options within that category. There are different breeds and types of some animals, and each one has their requirements, common personality traits and amounts of work to train. Take into consideration your hobbies, lifestyle and the way you spend your free time. Also, think about where you live and the amount of free time you have. For example, if you live in a bachelor apartment, you may not want a Great Dane. If you don’t have time to walk your dog every day (for some at least twice a day), you may not want a working dog who needs to be kept busy (or it will find other destructive things to do). Choosing a pet to fit your lifestyle is perhaps the most important part. Many behaviour problems (especially in dogs) arise from lack of stimulation (mentally or physically) or attention. If your pet of choice needs to be trained in any way also consider the costs financially and time-wise that it will take. Can you afford the time and money?
Once you have figured out which kind of pet you want to pursue and made sure it fits your lifestyle, then you can move on to more specific topics. What kind of regular care will your pet need? What are the habitat requirements? Does your pet need regular veterinary care (i.e., vaccinations, medications, check-ups, etc.)? Another topic that you need to be aware of is common illnesses and diseases that you may come across. It will help you determine when your pet needs veterinary care. It is important to make sure you meet with your local veterinarian if your pet experiences any injuries or illnesses to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. Remember this is a long term commitment and there is a high chance that your pet, whatever it may be, will require veterinary care at some point in its life.
Remember that the most important part of picking an ideal pet is finding one to match your way of life. Doing the research to find out more about animals and breeds will certainly pay off. While you’re checking into personalities don’t forget to learn about the things you need to maintain a healthy and happy pet including habitat, lifestyle and healthcare (example: diet, vaccinations, and regular health exams). Being a responsible pet owner is more than just choosing a pet to love, and we have to remember the length of commitment and responsibilities that come with it. Now that you know the key components to choose the best companion we wish you luck in finding your new friend!
Written by: Bailey Nadeau, RVT