Choosing a pet is one very important decision you may make in your life. If you choose the wrong pet, there may be discomfort/stress for both the pet and the owner. Before acquiring a pet, be sure to learn about the types and make an educated decision.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing a pet.
(1) Do I want an active pet? Some pets, such as horses and most dogs, require a lot of exercise. Do you have enough time to exercise the pet every day? If pets don’t get enough exercise, they can become obese and destructive.
(2) Am I or anyone else that will be living with the pet allergic? You and any others who will be living with the pet should go meet the type of animal you might get as a pet, unless the pet doesn’t have fur or feathers.
(3) What do other people that will be living with the pet think? Will they understand they can’t touch it/must be sure that certain things are done after handling it (i.e. wash their hands, lock the lid on the cage). If they are deathly afraid of the animal you are considering, that type of pet may not be the best.
(4) Do I want a cuddly pet? Do I want a pet I can handle? Some people want an animal that will be all interactive and affectionate, while others are content to just watch the pet scurry/swim/craw around its cage. What are you looking for in a pet? If you want something playful, affectionate, and interactive, then horses, dogs, rabbits, or cats may be best for you.
(5) Will my pets get along with it? If you have a terrier or other dog with a strong hunting instinct, then getting a prey animal like a rodent may not be the best. Don’t leave your rodent or rabbit alone with your dog, even if your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly (it may not hurt a fly, but a mouse could be a different story)
(6) How long of a lifespan do I want in a pet? Some pets (like fish, insects, and mice) live a year or less. Some live a few years (hamsters, gerbils, some lizards, for example), while some can live 15 years or more (dogs, horses, parrots, etc.)
(7) Do I rent or own my home? If I rent, will my landlord allow pets? Some landlords allow you to keep a dog or cat, as long as you pay a little more rent or a security deposit. Others don’t really care, as long as the pet doesn’t ruin anything, while others will not, under any circumstance, allow you to keep a pet. If your landlord won’t let you get a dog or cat, consider hamsters or other caged pets.
(8) How much money can I spend on a pet? Some pets like dogs and horses, can be quite expensive to care for every year. Fish and insects are among the lowest cost animals, only requiring maybe $20-$50 of supplies every year. Reptiles can be expensive to care for too, because they require UV lamps and (in some species) round the clock heating. You also must consider the start up costs of the animals. Acquiring a horse will set you back a few thousand dollars in most cases. Dogs can cost several hundred to a thousand (this depends on if you get a purebred or an animal shelter dog–the cost can vary greatly. Some purebred dogs can cost a thousand or more dollars, while an dog from an animal shelter may only cost $50). Insects and mice are probably the least expensive pets, only taking around $15-30 to start up with.
Choosing a pet can be less stressful if you know what you are looking for in a pet. I’ll add a detailed page telling about how different types of pets fit into the above criteria. 🙂