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Top 5 Things to Consider in Choosing A Type of Pet

Pets are a wonderful addition to many households. Over 60 million dogs, 70 million cats, 6 million rabbits and 2 million birds call our houses “home”. This does not consider the millions of fish, reptiles, small mammals and other “exotic” animals we keep as pets. With this number of pets and the choices we have, it is important to choose the one that fits us and our lifestyle the best. Keep these 5 points in mind when considering adding a new or additional pet to your household.

1. Your Time Commitment

Before considering any type of pet, carefully examine your schedule. Look at the amount of free time you have now or could make available for your new pet. If you work 12 hour days, a pet that needs a lot of personal attention and interaction shouldn’t be your first choice. What activities, if any, are you willing to give up to spend time with your pet for relaxation, for exercising, for training, for cage cleaning, etc.? Be very realistic in this initial assessment.

2. Your Space Available

Examine your surroundings and see what type of pet would really “fit”. If you live in an apartment, a horse might not be your first choice unless you have the financial resources to board it. Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t have a large breed dog. Look for breeds that can adapt to the space and are more docile.

3. Your Financial Resources

The initial purchase of the pet is just the first outlay of cash. Your pet will need the basic supplies like bedding/cage, food, food dispensers and a “wellness” check with your veterinarian (in most cases). Ongoing costs include food and veterinary care. If you are on a limited budget, examine how much you can spend per month on your pet and save for those emergency needs.

4. Your Family

This might seem like it should come first, but, if you’ve taken the time to research the first points, then you can assume the choices left on your list are feasible. Now consider, how would this pet really fit into my family? If you are single, do you have someone who would take care of the pet if you were out of town or ill? Could you afford a pet sitter? Do you have any family members with allergies or health concerns? What about a mental “phobia” to a particular animal? Will it be a welcome addition or a burden?

5. Your Legal Ability to Own It

So, you’ve made it to consideration 5 and have the perfect pet picked out. Now, can you legally own it? If you are looking at a dog or cat, you might not have too much to worry about unless you rent or live in an apartment. But, if you are looking at an “exotic” pet – even a ferret or hedgehog – can you legally own it in your state/city/county? Ferrets, for example are illegal in California and you can’t have a hedgehog in Denver. Dogs that are labeled “aggressive” breeds may also present some legal challenges and you should consider these before choosing your breed of dog for a pet.

Marian Brown is a pet owner, rescuer and has been active in holistic health care for pets over 15 years. She is editor of http://www.hhnews.com to join our free email newsletter and to find out more about holistic pet care products.

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