They say you can’t choose your family members, but the one place that isn’t true is selecting pets. After all, they definitely become part of the family. That makes it important to make a great choice, so do some research before making your new addition.
First Thing’s First
Before you do anything else, you need to decide what kind of animal will fit well with your home. A bad choice will make everyone unhappy, including your new pet. Think through your lifestyle and household circumstances. Does anyone in the home have allergies? How much space do you have for a pet? Will you fence in your garden? Consider what your lifestyle and provisions are like and think through your ability to care for an animal.
Commit for Life
Many dogs and cats live well beyond a decade, while some smaller pets, such as mice, live just a couple of years. Many people don’t realise the lifespan is so different for smaller animals, even quite similar ones. For instance, some professionals note gerbils live up to three years, hamsters just two years, and a guinea pig may live as long as eight years. You also need to know what a pet’s diet should consist of, and again the answers may surprise you. Gerbils and hamsters can get by on pellets, fruits, and vegetables, while guinea pigs need hay and vitamin C supplements in addition to pellets, fruits, and vegetables. Learn about any animal’s basic needs before adding one to your life.
Dog Breed Characteristics
If you’re considering a dog, you should learn about each breed’s characteristics as well as the care involved. For example, some dogs require a great deal of exercise, while others need very little. If you’re looking for an athletic dog who can be your jogging buddy and keep your kids busy in the backyard, one suggestion is to consider a Boxer. If you like that kind of look but a couch potato is more your speed, some professionals recommend a French Bulldog or Pug to keep you company. Some short-nose breeds can’t be left outside in hot weather, so you may need to hire a dog walker if you have a busy work schedule and will be working long hours. Choosing a dog can get confusing quickly, so think about your criteria and do some research. The AKC offers an online breed selector tool to help sort things out.
Cats are Individuals
There aren’t as many cat breeds as dog breeds, and as the Humane Society explains, cat personalities vary greatly, not only from breed to breed but within litters. There are some breed attributes; for instance, Siamese can be talkative, and Persians can be sedentary. Basically, cats are as different as people, so you should meet the cat before making a decision.
Before you bring your new friend home, you should make some preparations. Have the basics your pet will require such as appropriate food, bowls, and bedding. Cats and dogs may need collars, leashes, harnesses, and crates. Some people use puppy pads for dogs, and most cats require litter boxes and litter. If in doubt, you should touch base with your veterinary clinic to ensure you’re providing for your pet’s essentials.
Transitioning and Bonding
If your pet comes from a rescue, allow plenty of time for settling in. Some pets can be fearful or nervous at first, and as Texas Animal Guardians explains, sometimes it takes a while for adopted animals’ personalities to shine. Play allows your new pet an opportunity to get to know you better and begin bonding. Some cats like small, simple toys like balls of paper or catnip mice, and some dogs like rope toys and tennis balls. Take your dog for a walk, or spend time just hanging out. Set a routine, since structure and regularity provides comfort. In time, your new family member will trust you and open up.
Careful selection and planning are the keys to making your pet part of the family. Consider your lifestyle, environment, and the animal’s needs. Choosing well will make you both happy for years to come!
Written by Jessica Brody from Our Best Friends.