Which Pet to Pick: What Furry Friend is Right for You?

Cat and dog lying in the autumn leaves.

Pets obviously hold a special place in our lives, and the number of households that count at least one four-legged family member is on the rise. Owning a shaggy dog or befriending a fuzzy feline can be a fantastic way to begin your pet-loving journey, but many of us also love spending time with smaller pets, too. The decision to bring a new pet into your family isn’t one that should be taken lightly, though; owning a pet means that you’re now completely responsible for the care and comfort of your furry friend throughout their lifetime. It’s also essential to pick the right pet for your situation! Before adding that adorable puppy or cute little kitten to your household, there are a few factors to consider.

Start with a Family Discussion

To start with, are you actually ready for a pet? Make sure that your entire family is on board, and that there aren’t any fears, allergies, or illnesses that would make caring for a new pet difficult to do. What do you expect from your relationship with your new dog, cat, or ‘pocket pet’ – simple friendship? A running buddy? A child’s companion? Are you going to be able to dedicate enough time to the care of a new four-legged family member? Owning a dog can be quite demanding, for instance, with daily walks, play, and training needed to help them stay content and healthy; in addition, new puppy owners need to be prepared for lots of chewing and potty training slip ups too! On the other paw, cats (and other smaller pets) can take up less of your time, but don’t forget – they still need regular feeding, exercise, grooming, and positive interaction with their owners.

Survey Your Situation

Next, consider your living arrangements and financial position. Do you rent or own your home? Would you have enough room for your pet’s sleeping, eating and toilet areas? It’s a good idea to match the energy level of your future furry friend with your place of residence, too. An athletic, active dog like a Border Collie will be miserable being kept in a high-rise apartment all day, while a cat or smaller pet like a guinea pig might get along just fine in a smaller space. It’s also ideal to think about the potential costs for your furry friend’s regular care throughout their lifetime, which can include pet supplies, feeding, grooming, training and veterinary fees for vaccinations, spay/neuter, and medical treatment. Do you have a plan for your pet’s health care? If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to start with a smaller four-legged friend such as a rat or guinea pig – with lower care costs than a dog or cat, they make the perfect starter pet, as they’re sociable and easily accustomed to handling, too.

Choose the Right Pet for Children

Although kids and pets can get along famously, children in the home can be a deciding factor in the adoption process, too –toy dog breeds and smaller pets like rabbits or hamsters might not be a good choice for families with small children who may grab or play roughly.

Adopting a new four-legged family member is always an exciting adventure; choosing the right pet is really just about figuring out what your expectations would be, and taking the time to find a good fit for your unique situation. Forethought and preparation before bringing that new pet home is the key to starting a long and rewarding relationship between you and your new furry friend!