Do You Need A Pet? How to Pick a Pet That\'s Best For You

Do You Need A Pet? How to Pick a Pet That\'s Best For You

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If you find you that you have extra space in your house and extra room in your heart, you may want to consider getting a pet. Caring for a pet has been linked to improved health and mental well being and animals everywhere are waiting for a human family. All you need to do is choose.


Make a Match

Are you a dog lover? Do you have a passion for birdsong? Consider carefully before investing in what may be a very long-term relationship with an animal. A dog may live 12 years while a cat may live 20 and a bird may last several decades. Assess your lifestyle. Do you really have room for a big, bouncy Labrador? A large dog needs lots of attention, room to roam and a good amount of exercise to remain healthy and calm. If you are out of the house a lot, you may want to consider a more independent animal, such as a cat. If you still want company, buy you don't have a lot of space, consider the intelligent and loyal rat or a low maintenance hamster.


Adopt or Buy

Countless animals live in shelters awaiting adoption. Pet adoption agencies host events every week to encourage people to take home a homeless animal. In addition, there are specialized organizations that rescue particular breeds or types of pets. If you are on a budget, adoption is definitely cheaper than buying a pet. When you adopt, you are often saving an animal from death. However, adopted pets may have a history that includes abandonment or abuse. They will need patience and tender loving care before they can relax in their new home.



Don't let your allergies keep you from enjoying a fun and fulfilling relationship with a pet. Research dog breeds that are hypoallergenic or ask your physician about the possibility of allergy shots or medication. You may want to look into pets without fur. Think about a tortoise, snake or lizard. There are many alternatives and even if you have allergies you can still find a pet to suit your needs.


How Much Work?

Think about how much time you have to devote to an animal before bringing one home. All dogs will need companionship and exercise. A new puppy will need tons of attention, including house training and bedtime training. You need time to teach a puppy not to eat your shoes or chew the rug. You will be integral in helping to form their personality. Adopted pets may be older, meaning they have house training and understand commands. They are more likely to be settled into their personalities so you know what you are getting.


What's the Cost?

Whether a pet is adopted from a shelter or purchased from a breeder for thousands of dollars, feeding and maintaining the health of the animal is never cheap. In addition to the cost of food, your pet budget will include neutering, vaccinations and other veterinary care, license fees, grooming and boarding costs, toys and other expenses. You may want to look into pet insurance, which can help cover vaccinations and annual check-ups for your animal and be critical when emergency care is needed. As with any insurance policy, read the fine print. Pre-exisitng conditions may not be covered.

Editor, 09/27/2012