Welcoming a pet into one’s life can be a rewarding experience. Pets promote compassion and discipline in their owners, and their companionship can be incredibly rewarding. They also can be helpful tools for teaching children responsibility.
Pets require commitment, patience and financial investment. Potential pet owners also need to understand just what they’re getting into when they decide to bring a pet home. Certain animals require a greater level of attention than others and some pets might not be the right fit for all involved. After all, a pet is not a temporary playmate, but a long-term family member who will require considerable love and attention.
Prospective pet owners should consider various factors to help them find the pet that suits their families.
Decide if you want a young pet or prefer an older animal, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. While puppies and kittens can be attractive, they require extra time and care upon being welcomed into a home, and that can be rough if young children are in the home and not accustomed to pets and their unique behaviors. In such instances, an older established animal may be a better fit, especially if you can devote the time to retraining the animal to your preferences. If you already have pets, you’ll need to find one that’s compatible with your existing animals.
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation says to carefully consider if you can provide the amount of attention your pet will need. Different species and breeds require various amounts of care. A ferret or hamster may be self-sufficient most of the day, while a boisterous puppy will not be. People who travel frequently or are out of the house most of the day will have to keep this in mind as well.
Affordability is another factor to consider. Assess whether you have the money necessary to offer shelter, recreation, medical care, food, exercise and socialization for this particular pet. If you cannot budget for a pet that has a lot of needs, look for one that has relatively inexpensive care requirements, like a fish.
Remember that some animals can live many years, while others have a relatively short life span. Factor this into your decision as well. Once you make the commitment to the pet, it’s unfair to surrender an animal simply because you failed to recognize the time and energy required to take care of it.
For more assistance choosing a pet, speak with a trusted veterinarian or animal expert about the traits of certain animals and breeds up for consideration.