From feathered fowl to furry felines, perfectly pink pigs to delightfully dear dogs, pets are a huge part of most people’s lives. Choosing the right one can be quite daunting.
Not only do you have to consider what type of pet would fit your lifestyle, but you also have to decide if the animal will play well with other members of your household. You have to research and see whether or not it has any allergies or if you might be allergic to them. Not to mention, how long you might have to care for and house this pet.
If you're still unsure about which pet is right for you, let’s walk through a few options and find the cherished companion for you!
Know the Benefits of Having a Pet Before Making Your Decision
It is no secret that people love pets. But what do they do for us?
Pets provide comfort and companionship. Many believe that they are good for both mental and physical health. They can help you deal with stress. Heart.org outlines at least five ways in which this is true.
They advise that, “Pets can reduce work-related stress. Pets can help increase productivity. Pets help manage anxiety. Pets provide companionship and support. Pets can help you be more active. Pets provide a sense of togetherness.”
Pets can upgrade your circumstantial environment. Let’s call this your home’s vibe. Not to get too metaphysical, but any time you make a change to your home it affects you on a cellular level. The National Library of Medicine says that our body adapts to these changes. When you bring a pet into your home, you’re not only making changes to your physical environment but also yourself.
Pets can also help you enhance your social life. One academic journal, PloS One, outlines how pets can start conversations or deepen those relationships within your neighborhood sphere. If someone you don’t know has a parrot and you have a parrot? That’s one more thing to talk about and share.
Now that we know the “why” of a pet, the other question that remains is “What kind of pet do I want?”
What Kind of Pet Should You Get?
The first thing to consider is what type of pet you think you want. What’s the perfect pet for you?
There are many different types of pets out there, including dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, and even insects. The list continues on into infinity (and beyond).
You may have a specific breed in mind, or maybe you just want something cute and cuddly. Whatever your preference, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for before you start searching for your treasured compadre.
Want is nice, but which pet do you need? And which one needs you? You need to consider your lifestyle, income, and space, among other things.
How often are you at work? If that’s all day, animals such as cats are far less dependent upon you than dogs. Just don’t expect to come home and cuddle on the couch, unless they say it’s okay.
Are finances an issue? A camel probably isn’t in the cards. Not all of us have $50k just lying around. There are a good many other pets that run at far too great a cost for most of us.
Land doesn't grow on trees either. From a small apartment to a several hundred-acre farm, how much space you have available will dictate how much space you have to dedicate to your new pet.
Is It Just About You?
There will always be others to think of with a pet.
Even when simply choosing your new best friend, it’s important to take into account the pet’s needs. And some more than others.
The necessities of animals are not all created equal, especially when it comes to their size. Suppose you bring an alpaca home-- that’s going to require more space than that cute, adorable hamster. You could be in the city or the suburbs but your pet’s needs won’t change based on where you live. Keep that in mind.
Certain animals need more exercise. They’ll need a trot around the block; some multiple times a day. And the attention required might not end there. Between the possibility of extensive training and various playtimes, you’ll need to know their specific needs.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimates that about 10 to 20% of the population of the world is allergic to cats alone. Other animals could only add to that number.
But, did you know that the inverse is true as well? Your bestial bestie can be allergic to you. These are rarely any more than minor inconveniences and can be managed by your vet.
Finally, you’ll want to know whether or not you can keep your pet around your children or other family members. Many people choose to adopt pets that are friendly toward kids while others prefer to keep their pets separated from little ones.
Whoever is living under your roof, they should be compatible spatially and socially. We wouldn’t want your granny razzing your rottweiler.
Where Should You Look for Your Perfect Pet?
The internet is a veritable smorgasbord of ideas. A few presses on your keyboard will generate an endless list of animals that are available to bring home.
When you have the list of ideas, where should you go to grab one of the pets that strikes your fancy? Those that know and are honest, know best.
Experts are experts for a reason. While your veterinarian has a massive overview of most animals, they’ll know whom to point you toward so that you can adopt your preferred pet.
For some animals, such as cats, adoption is easy. Head down to your local ASPCA. They'll set you up with an ideal kitty. For families that need a specific breed of feline, there are breeders out there that can assist you with that as well.
For any number of unique requests out of left field - from pot-bellied pigs to hedgehogs and pygmy goats to slithering pythons - there are breeders out there to marry you with the animal you're ready to bring home.
That includes dogs…
We know Doodles. The most perfect puppy you could ever wish for is among our ranks. And we know our stuff. We’ve already written on how to find a healthy pup and what you need to ask your chosen breeder. Maybe you’ve got other questions? We’ll answer them. Anything we can do to help, we’re here for all your Doodle needs.
How Old Should My Pet Be?
Who doesn’t love a puppy or a kitten? They will always be beautiful, but won’t stay cute in the same way for long. Life happens and we don’t always have the choice as to when an animal will have to move from one home to another.
Most animals require at least a year of age to become fully grown, although some breeds take longer to reach maturity. If you do decide to take in a pet that’s older than an infant, get to know its history as well as you can. That way you’ll know all the ins and outs of what to expect from its behavior.
Also, good on you for looking after a life that might be in need!
Do They Need Any Special Care?
We’ve mentioned needs. The above requirements are more general to all animals. Dogs, for example, have to be walked regularly, fed nutritious food, and given plenty of water. Cats, on the other hand, only need to be fed once daily and can survive without being taken outside. But some have special needs.
Take some dogs for example. They could require a therapeutic diet. Based on weight, size or other health issues, your precious pup must eat what the vet tells it to. Cats are similar.
Other animals might have more complex dietary needs. Snakes love mice and insects. We’re not even going to get started on the foods and specific eating habits of the tarantula…
Cats self-regulate as far as baths go. Other animals can’t be trusted with their own hygiene and will require your help. Chinchillas secrete oils onto their incredibly soft fur. Dust versus water baths are a must. We can’t forget the lessons that Gremlins taught us about the inappropriate uses of water.
Whatever their special needs are, they’ll need your help to keep them safe and cared for.
Do You Need a Housebroken Pet
Yes, training is important. And this doesn’t apply to all animals the same way. If you are homing a previously kept animal, this both could and could not be an issue.
If they were abused or have certain health issues, this could cause incontinence. But, some pets have littler boxes, terrariums or cages that will need constant upkeep and cleaning. All the proper supplies and dedicated time to keeping your home and theirs clean will need to be a consideration.
Choosing the right pet for you is incredibly important. Pets offer so many benefits and are a great way to connect with your family and friends. But, before you add extra snuggles to your day, you must consider your lifestyle, income and other needs. Best of luck.
Jenna and the JLDD Team