You’ve decided you want to get a dog or cat. You’ve researched breeds and have narrowed down your choices. Now comes the fun part — picking out the perfect pet.
Here are some tips for choosing a family pet:
Get to know the breed. Before you decide on a breed, make sure it’s right for your lifestyle and personality. For example, if there is no one who can walk your dog during the day, don’t get a breed that needs lots of exercise. Or if you live in an apartment building, don’t get a breed that barks all day long because it won’t be happy there either.
Consider all aspects of owning an animal. Before you buy an animal, think about how much time and money it will take to keep it healthy and happy — especially when it’s young or old and needs special care. Do research on what kind of food, toys and veterinary care your new pet will need so that you’re prepared for those costs. Also consider whether there are any extra expenses associated with owning an animal (such as boarding fees, grooming services or obedience classes).
Think about how much time you’ll spend with your pet. If you’re looking for a companion animal who will be by your side 24/7, consider adopting from an animal shelter or rescue group rather than buying from a breeder or pet store (where many animals are bred for profit). Many shelter and rescue animals are already housebroken, leash trained and socialized — all skills that will save you time and energy when bringing home a new friend!
Consider your lifestyle and schedule. Are you active? Do you work long hours? Do you travel often? If so, consider a pet that matches your lifestyle. For example, if you work out of the house during the week and want someone to be with your children while they are home alone, look for a dog who gets along well with kids and will be comfortable being left alone all day.