Choosing the right pet for you is very important in creating a long-lasting and happy relationship. There are many considerations to make and it’s necessary to realistically evaluate your own lifestyle to see what you are looking for in a pet. Luckily, the staff at the Cedar Valley Humane Society are always here to help match a shelter animal the right owner!
Things to consider when choosing your pet:
Today, pets are considered part of a family, and rightly so! The whole family has to get along with a pet for it to be a successful and fulfilling relationship for everyone. Children benefit greatly from having pets as they grow up, but it is extra important to find the right match for a youngster. Age and maturity level are very important to consider. Small children could hurt a tiny puppy or kitten by not knowing how to be gentle. Children also shouldn’t be around aggressive or untrained animals or be afraid of their own pets. If an older person is looking for a pet, they may want to consider the longevity of the animal. Will it need to be included in their will? Is there someone that can look after it if they are sick?
When you get a pet, your home becomes its home, so it’s important to be realistic with what animal fits in well. Space availability is many people’s biggest determining factor when picking a breed or pet type. Small caged animals and cats are good in places like apartments where there is not easy access to the outdoors, while people with more space and yards can have larger pets like dogs. Different breeds of dogs will also require different amounts of space. More active dogs will need more space and a bigger yard to be able to run around. Of course, pet owners should always have permission from anyone they are renting from to have a pet. You should also consider the stability of your living situation. Will you be moving every year? How likely is it that your pet will be allowed or comfortable in your future homes as well?
There is a wide range of time commitments needed to care for different kinds of pets. While cats can be very independent, dogs will require attention more regularly to be taken outside and kept active. All pets need time to socialize with an owner and get the love that is needed, but again dogs are social animals that often require more time with their owners. Consider your working hours and if you will be home enough to get take them out. Other pets require time commitments too! Small furry caged pets are happiest and healthiest when their cages are regularly cleaned and cats need regular litterbox cleanings to keep from having accidents.
The upfront cost of buying an animal is just the tip of the financial iceberg of pet ownership! All pets will have an ongoing cost of financial ownership. Some pets will generally cost more than others- Of course a St. Bernard will eat more than a little Chihuahua or a cat! Owners also need to know that potential vet bills can come out of nowhere to surprise them. In fact, throughout the life of a pet, it’s almost sure to happen! Some breeds are known to be healthier than others, and while not a perfect predictor, choosing a healthier breed can help you avoid costly medical issues in the long run.
Are you a couch potato or an active outdoorsman? This greatly affects the fit of a pet into your lifestyle. Cats and caged animals can often be left on their own to take care of their excessive energy. Dogs, however, usually need their owners to provide them with exercise. Breeds vary greatly in activity levels and there are many resources to look into a breed’s energy levels. Both owner and dog will be happier with the right fit. Dogs that require a lot of exercise can become handfuls and misbehave if their needs are not met. Alternatively, an active owner won’t be happy if their dog tires out halfway through a hike. The age of an animal also plays a role in activity levels with older pets generally calming down and lowering their energy when compared to a puppy or kitten.
Your experience is something that will help determine the right fit with an animal. Have you had a certain type of pet before? If so, you should know what to expect! Are you an experienced and patient trainer? If you are, you can handle a more stubborn breed. Many breeds can be difficult if matched with an inexperienced trainer, while others are easier to teach. Cats require even less training and can get along with most owners with a little bit of socializing. An owner has to be able to honestly look at their own abilities before determining which direction to go.