There are many good reasons to add a pet to my family, but which type of pet is right for me? Can I afford it? How do I take care of it? What do I need to plan for? I’ve done all the research for you, so if you need an idea of what you’re getting yourself into, keep reading!
- The most important thing to consider when getting a new pet is asking yourself what is this pet’s job? Is this pet – a guard dog, a companion for an elderly person, exercise buddy, something for the kids to learn about and enjoy? Different pets do different things and care consideration is necessary during the search for a pet. For example pairing a young, high energy large Labrador Retriever with an elderly shut-in is a recipe for disaster. Although that lab puppy was cute when he/she was little, the pet wasn’t suited to the home.
- Your next consideration is where you and your pet will live. Many rentals and apartments have pet and breed restrictions, so make sure what you the pet you want is allowed. Ensuring that your home meets the requirements for the pet to be healthy is also important. Is there enough room in a one bedroom apartment for a giant breed herding dog? Are the spaces in a wrought iron fence wide enough that a toy breed Chihuahua could get out? It’s not all about you, but also the needs of the pet and of those who will be affected by the pet joining the family.
- How about cost of owning a pet? Money is a necessary component of adding a pet to your family. The cost of various pets varies both on what you get, where you get it, where you live, etc. For an idea of what common pets cost, see the chart below:
- Lastly, please consider family planning. Do you have or plan to get other pets? It is important to note that adding a cat, or a hamster, for that matter, to the household where there is already a breed of dog with a high prey drive could be disaster. What about kids? Is the pet you want safe for the kids you have or plan to have? Not all pets are small child friendly – even if it’s just because they are just extremely large breeds – and not all children know how to behave around animals. So, make sure that the pet you get is age appropriate, or that there are safeguards in place for the child and/or the pet. Have you considered special health needs? People who have suppressed immune systems such as diabetics or cancer patients have specific health requirements. An elderly person with thin skin might do better with a fish tank than with a cat or rabbit with long toe nails.
Hopefully, these tips will help point you in the right direction for the perfect addition to your family. And remember, your veterinarian is always happy to talk to you and answer questions if you need help. Please feel free to direct your questions in regard to adding a pet to the household to your veterinary care team at Animal Hospital Champions Northwest and Animal Hospital Jones Road.