So you're ready to commit to the responsibility of owning a pet, but you're not sure what kind to get. There are loads of things to consider when adding an animal to the family. Here, our The Beacon Veterinary Associates vets discuss types of pets and the rewards and challenges that come with each kind.
Choosing a New Pet
Spending time with animals is one of life's greatest pleasures. Our pets quickly become loved members of our families. Different animals present different challenges and necessitate varying levels of care, but they all have one thing in common: they are dependent on you to survive. As a result, getting a pet should be a well-thought-out decision to ensure that you have all of the necessary resources to properly care for your new companion.
A Few Things to Consider
The first thing to consider when selecting a pet is whether the animal will fit into your family's lifestyle. A dog, for example, may not be a good fit if you spend the majority of your time away from home because they require a lot of attention, walks, and bathroom breaks. You could instead get a cat that is more than capable of spending 8-10 hours a day alone. Other questions to think about are:
- Is it financially possible for me to care for the pet of my choice? Every pet has a cost, but some are more expensive than others. The vet bills for a dog, for example, are likely to be greater than the cost of a small goldfish tank and fish food.
- What is a good match for my family members' personalities? A dog is an excellent pet for an outgoing and extroverted family because dogs are themselves outgoing. If your family is made up of introverts, a cat or rabbit could be the ideal pet.
- Do any of your family members have allergies? If being around pet fur makes you sneeze, a reptile might make a more suitable pet.
- Is your family capable of providing care? Each type of pet has unique needs and methods for meeting them. Cats' litter boxes must be changed regularly, hamsters and guinea pigs' cages must be cleaned regularly, and reptiles may require a diet that makes some people queasy (like bugs and mice). Make certain that you are prepared to meet the needs of whichever pet you choose.
Choosing a pet isn't always as simple as checking a few boxes. Perhaps you believe that a dog is the best pet for your family, but it turns out that a rabbit or bird is a better choice. You'll find the perfect pet for you and your family if you keep an open mind and do your research.
Thinking About a Dog?
Choosing a dog begins with deciding on a breed that will fit into your home and lifestyle. Investigate the temperament of the breed as a whole (but remember that all animals have their personalities as well). Some dogs are content to sit at your feet all day, while others are boisterous and daring. Size should also be taken into account. If you live in a small apartment, a smaller dog is probably a better choice. Large dogs need plenty of room to run around and exercise.
Care requirements to consider: Registering with a license, training, taking them out on walks, and providing the proper food, grooming, and veterinarian care.
Considering a Cat?
Cats make wonderful pets. They are frequently playful and affectionate but keep in mind that they, like dogs, have distinct personalities. Once they reach adulthood, cats are low-maintenance pets. Cats, on the other hand, are notorious for scratching (and sometimes destroying) furniture, so keep their nails trimmed and provide scratching posts to alleviate this problem.
Care requirements to consider: Changing the litter box, providing proper food and stimulation (toys, scratching posts), nail care, and veterinarian care.
Perhaps a Bird Would Be Best?
Do your research first if you want to keep a bird as a pet; some birds are better suited to human companionship than others. Budgies are popular because they are affectionate and enjoy being handled, whereas cockatiels can be taught to communicate and even perform tricks. Keep your bird's cage clean, with food and water bowls replenished daily. Your adult birds' wings should be able to flap freely without touching the cage's sides.
Care requirements to consider: Cleaning the cage, noise, commitment to ownership (some birds can live to be 100 years old), and veterinarian care.
Wondering About Fish as Pets?
While fish are not cuddly pets, they can be quite entertaining to watch swim around in their tank. They also require less attention than other types of pets. The care requirements differ depending on the fish species, but the most important factor to consider when buying a fish is that you will need to keep their tank clean. Some fish are predatory toward others, so do your research and talk to the pet store about which types of fish get along well.
Care requirements to consider: Proper nutrition, tank cleaning.
Thinking About Getting a Rabbit?
Rabbits are intelligent and affectionate creatures. They are also social creatures that thrive when they are accompanied by another rabbit rather than being left alone (just make sure to get two females or two females to avoid having too many pet rabbits). A litter box, a food bowl, a water bottle, and clean bedding are all required for rabbit care. For bedding, non-toxic materials such as recycled newspaper or aspen wood should be used.
Care requirements to consider: Cleaning their cage regularly (including changing their bedding), companionship, proper nutrition, supervision at all times when they are outside of their cage.
Maybe a Hamster or Guinea Pig Would Be Best?
Hamsters and guinea pigs are small animals that are great for older children because they are happy to be handled if they have been socialized from a young age and enjoy being gently cuddled. Both animals require cages and bedding, as well as access to food and clean water. To stimulate their minds, they, like most pets, require toys and accessories such as wheels, chew toys, and tunnels. Guinea pigs require a larger, more spacious cage than hamsters, and their cages must be cleaned daily. Apart from the cleaning requirements, these are low-maintenance pet options.
Care requirements to consider: Regular cage cleaning (including clean bedding), proper nutrition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.