If you're ready for a pet, but not sure what kind of animal would make the best companion for you and your family, read on. There are many important things to consider when adding an animal to the family. Today, our Redding vets discuss types of pets and the rewards and challenges that come with each kind.
Getting a New Pet
Animals are one of the greatest joys in life. Oftentimes, our pets become another family member and we love and care for them deeply. Different types of animals come with different challenges and care requirements but they all have one thing in common: they rely on you to survive. So getting a pet must be a carefully thought out decision to ensure you have all the resources you need to properly care for your new friend.
What Should I Consider?
The first thing to consider when selecting a pet is if they will meet your lifestyle needs. For example, if you are often out for most of the day, a dog might not be a good choice because they require a lot of attention, walks, and bathroom breaks. Instead, you might opt for a cat that is more than capable of hanging out alone for 8-10 hours a day. Some other questions to ask yourself are:
- Can I afford to properly care for the pet I'm choosing? All pets come with a cost commitment, but some are more expensive than others. For example, a dog's vet bills are likely to run a higher bill than a betta fish.
- What is a good match for my personality? If you're outgoing and extroverted a dog makes a great pet as they tend to be quite outgoing themselves. If you're an introvert you might prefer the quieter companionship of a cat or rabbit.
- Do I have allergies? If being around pet fur makes you sneeze, a reptile might make a more suitable pet.
- Can I handle the care requirements? Each type of pet has different needs and ways to accomplish their care. Dogs require a large time commitment but cats need to have their litter boxes changed, hamsters and guinea pigs need their cages cleaned regularly, and reptiles might require a diet that makes some people squeamish (like bugs and mice). Make sure you're committed to the care requirements of whatever pet you choose.
Choosing a pet is not always as simple as checking off a few mental boxes. Maybe you think that a dog would make a perfect pet for you, but it turns out that a rabbit or a bird is your animal soulmate. Keep an open mind and be sure to do your research and you'll end up with the perfect pet for you and your family.
Choosing a dog starts with looking up information on breeds that would best suit your home and lifestyle. Do some research about the breed's general temperament (but remember that all animals have their own personalities as well). Some dogs are calm and content to sit at your feet all day while others can be bold and boisterous. Size should factor in as well. If you live in a small apartment a smaller dog is probably a better choice. Large dogs need ample room to run and exercise.
Take into consideration: Training, taking them out on walks, and providing the proper food, grooming, and veterinarian care.
Cats can make great pets; they can be playful and affectionate and have won over the hearts of many a cat skeptic with their antics and unique personalities. Like dogs, however, not every cat is meant for every family - and despite being low-maintenance for the most part they can cause destruction (e.g. scratching furniture) if not provided with scratching posts, toys, and other grooming and play outlets.
Take into consideration: Changing the litter box, providing proper food and stimulation (toys, scratching posts), nail care, and veterinarian care.
If your heart is set on a feathered friend, choose carefully. Some species of birds are more suited to human companions than others (and, of course, each bird will have a unique personality). Budgies are a popular choice because they can be quite affectionate and enjoy handling while cockatiels can be trained to talk and even perform tricks. Keep your bird's cage clean with food and water bowls replenished daily. The cage should suit your birds' adult size-they need to be able to easily flap their wings without touching the sides of the cage.
Take into consideration: Keeping the cage clean, having appropriate enclosure, noise, commitment to ownership (some birds can live to be 100 years old), and veterinarian care.
While fish are not the cuddliest pet option, they can be beautiful and calming to watch as they swim in their tank. Many types of fish also require less care than some other pets do, although of course, their care requirements can vary depending on the species of fish. Regardless of species, the most important factor will be proper tank maintenance and keeping the tank clean. Additionally, some fish are predatory towards others so if you're considering getting multiple fish be sure to do your research and speak to the pet store for more information on which types of fish get along well.
Take into consideration: Proper nutrition, tank maintenance and cleaning.
Rabbits can be quite loving, playful and intelligent. They are also social creatures and are much happier when they have a fellow rabbit in the household as a companion. (Just be careful to have male-male or female-female pairings, to avoid unintended bunny replication!) Proper care for rabbits includes access to a litter box, a food bowl and water bottle, and clean bedding. Bedding should be made of non-toxic materials like recycled newspaper or aspen wood.
Take into consideration: Cleaning their cage regularly (including changing their bedding), companionship, proper nutrition, supervision at all times when they are outside of their cage.
Hamsters & Guinea Pigs
Hamsters and guinea pigs are small animals that can be great little companions for older children who are responsible. These pets can be handled easily if they've been gently acclimated and enjoy gentle snuggles. Both animals need cages and bedding with adequate access to food and clean water. Like most pets, they also need toys and accessories: wheels, chew toys, and tunnels are favorites and stimulate their minds. Guinea pigs require a larger, roomier cage than hamsters, and their cages should be cleaned daily. Other than the cleaning requirements, however, these are fairly low-maintenance pet options.
Take into consideration: Regular cage cleaning (including clean bedding), proper nutrition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.