It takes a very strong-minded person not to feel their heartstrings tugged in the presence of cute furry animals. A pet can be a wonderful addition to your home, bringing its owner a lot of happiness. To an animal lover, the question is not “Should I get a pet?”, but instead “What kind of pet should I buy?” Here are some points to consider.
Personal Lifestyle and Living Circumstances
Before making the decision to own a pet, you should be honest with yourself about how it will fit into your lifestyle. If you have a demanding job and live in a small apartment, then a dog breed that needs a lot of exercising is not going to be suitable for you. Similarly, small animals, like rabbits or hamsters, need a lot of daily care: their bedding needs to be changed regularly, and they need to be petted, and fed.
If you have a family, then owning a pet becomes slightly easier – although an adult is still pretty much always responsible for most of the pet care (despite what your children initially promise!). The “family friendliness” of any animal usually depends on the breed and its individual personality. When selecting a pet, be sure to investigate whether the animal you’re interested in has experience of being around children (noisy kids might intimidate or scare a shy animal).
Cost and Time
Food, cleaning products, toys, and cage or tank maintenance will all cost money. On top of that, there is always the risk that your pet will get poorly and need to receive treatment at the vet. Looking after animals can become quite expensive – though some more so than others. Think about how your desired pet would fit into your budget.
Another “hidden cost” of pets is the wear and tear they cause to a home and its furnishings. Cats scratch at sofas. Dogs get mud onto the carpet. Furry animals shed their fur onto clothes. Fortunately you can wash your clothes with a good detergent – but it might be a good idea to buy protection for your expensive living room furnishings, before letting an animal into your house!
A lot of pets are sociable creatures that need companions. This is especially true of small animals, such as rodents, although if you intend to keep a cat indoors it is also sometimes recommended that you have two of them.
Depending on your needs as an owner, different animals will be better suited to you. A fish, for example, is not an animal you can easily pet or play with; where as a dog is!
The Most Common Types of Pet
Be sure to consult a professional guide, before buying any new pet. Here is a brief list of the most popular kinds of household animal:
Cats. Cats are independent creatures who like to do their own thing. Depending on their personalities a cat can either be sociable and affectionate, or shy and aloof.
Dogs. Dogs will give their owners a lot of unconditional love, although they need a lot of looking after. Larger breeds will require more outdoor exercise, so they people with a sporty lifestyle.
Fish. Tropical fish are soothing to observe and do not require much maintenance.
Birds. Canaries, Lovebirds and Parrots are highly intelligent creatures and can be trained, but can be quite noisy.
Rodents. Guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, rats and mice all make interesting pets. They usually only live 3-5 years, in contrast to larger pets that can survive for 10-15 years. Cleaning their cages will take up a lot of your time.
Reptiles. Reptiles, such as lizards and snakes, are a more unusual type of pet. They will need more specialised habitats to survive (temperature-controlled tanks, carnivorous diet) compared with other kinds of animals.
There are animals out there to suit every lifestyle, personality and budget. With just a bit of prior thought and careful screening you can become the owner of the ideal pet for you.