Pick Out the Perfect Pet for You And Your Family
Updated: Jul 31
Ready to add a four-footed, scaled or feathered friend to your family? If this is your first foray into finding your perfect match, here are questions to ask as you weigh your options.
Think about your tolerance for dirt and mess. Can you live with pet hair, litter boxes or possible damage and usual wear-and-tear associated with many pets? Is your yard equipped to safely contain a dog? How much space do you have in your home? Is there room for a free-roaming pet or aquariums/cages for contained-critters? If you rent, does your landlord mind if you add a pet?
Think about everyone’s ages. Some pets do well with younger children, but other animals thrive with older kids. Also, does anyone in your family have allergies?
What’s your activity level? Is your family constantly on the go or sedentary? Do you work from home for long hours, or is someone around to tend to a dog’s toileting needs or play with the cat? If you travel, how will you provide care for the pet?
Some pets require a greater financial commitment than others. On average, expect to spend about $700 annually for a cat or dog, between $100 and $450 for reptiles, and $50 – $100 for hamsters or other rodents. Do you have financial resources to cover vet bills if your pet needs unexpected care?
Choosing the ideal companion
Even once you’ve asked yourself all the questions above, it’s no easy task finding a pet that will fit into the family. If you’re still not sure what type or breed will work, here’s a quick primer on the most popular pets.
Dogs: If your heart’s set on a dog, and now you’re narrowing in on the breed, great. Consider a dog’s size, personality, grooming needs, space and exercise requirements, activity level and compatibility with your lifestyle and family members.
Cats: Some breeds are more allergy-friendly, but also think about whether to welcome a curious, playful, frisky kitten or more laid back mature adult. Year-old or older cats have better-developed personalities, so you’ll see the feline’s personality better.
Ferrets: These friendly, crazy, quirky bandits love to explore. While they’re cage-kept, they do require plenty of supervised time to roam.
Hamsters: These nocturnal animals make great pets if you work a graveyard shift, but aren’t great for kids under age 8. Older night owls, however, will appreciate their company.
Prepping your home
As adoption day gets closer, take time to pet-proof your home, especially if you’re bringing home a companion animal that will have free roam. Pretend you’re toddler-proofing, and you’ll cover the most important bases.
Plan ahead for your pet’s meals and water, where he’ll sleep, the litter box and scratching post locations and where to put the crate, if you’re getting a dog.
Helping your pet adjust to his new home
Animals adjust to new living arrangements differently. Cats may hide for a few days or more, so make sure she’s got a safe spot to go. Dogs might forget they’re housebroken and they require patience and more potty breaks initially. Aquarium pets may hide at first, too, so give them space.
Start the routine for bathroom breaks, feeding time, playtime, and exercise on the first day. Predictable routines calm anxiety. As you’re cultivating your bond, make yourself available for cuddles, snuggles and playtime. Eventually, as your new fur baby adjusts, her true personality will emerge and she’ll find her place in your family.
Pets for people in recovery
It’s intentional that more addiction treatments now include pet therapy. Spending time with a cuddly creature lowers the production of stress hormones, reduces depression and creates a balanced calm. If you’re recovering from addiction, consider adopting a pet. Owning a pet will provide you with responsibility, compassion and accountability. If you adopt a dog, you can even take him hiking or camping!
Welcoming a pet into your life offers wonderful benefits, great joy, tons of laughter and entertainment, and best of all: unconditional love.
Photo Credit: pexels.com
Author: Jessica Brody
Jessica is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.