Getting a new pet is exciting, but it can be hard to know which one to get because there are many factors you have to think about first. Today, our Danbury vets talk about the essential factors you need to consider before bringing home a pet, to help you determine which one will be best for you and your family.
Bringing Home a New Pet
Animals are an amazing joy to have in life. And often, they become a valued member of the family.
While each type of pet comes with its own set of requirements and challenges, they all share one thing in common: they count on you to survive. Therefore, you have to think carefully about the pet you choose, making sure you have everything you need to take care of them properly.
Below, our veterinary team at Mill Plain Veterinary Clinic has shared some key points you need to take into consideration before bringing home a new pet.
Points to Consider
When picking a pet, the first thing you need to consider is if their needs match your lifestyle. As an example, if you aren't home most of the day, a dog may not be a suitable choice because they need lots of attention, bathroom breaks, and walks. In this situation, you may adopt a cat instead, because they can stay at home by themselves for 8-10 hours a day. A few other questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Am I financially able to 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 cost a lot more than fish food and a small goldfish tank.
- Can I manage all the care requirements? Every 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.
- Do I have allergies? If being around pet fur makes you sneeze, a reptile might make a more suitable pet.
- What is a good match for my personality? If you're outgoing and extroverted a dog might be the perfect pet because they are often outgoing themselves. If you're an introvert you might prefer the quieter companionship of a cat or rabbit.
Picking a pet involves more than just meeting a couple of mental boxes. Perhaps you believe a dog will be the best pet for you, but a bird or rabbit is actually your animal soulmate. Remember to keep your mind open and do your research, so you will end up bringing the perfect pet into your family.
Adopting a Dog
Choosing a dog starts with considering a breed that will suit your home and lifestyle. Do some research about the breed's general temperament (but remember each animal has their own individual personality). 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.
Care requirements for dogs: Registering for a license, training, taking them for walks, providing the proper food, grooming, and veterinarian care.
Adopting a Cat
Cats can be amazing pets. Most of the time they are both affectionate and playful - but keep in mind, like dogs, each cat has their own unique personality. Overall cats are relatively low maintenance, once they become adults. On the other hand, they are notorious for scratching (and sometimes ruining) furniture, so you will need to keep their nails trimmed and give them scratching posts, to help manage this issue.
Care requirements for cats: Changing the litter box, providing proper food and stimulation (toys, scratching posts), nail care, and veterinarian care.
Adopting a Bird
If you are interested in getting a pet bird, choose carefully because some are more suited to human companions than others. Budgies are a popular choice because they can be quite affectionate and enjoy handling, while cockatiels can be trained to perform tricks and talk. Keep your bird's cage clean and replenish their food and water bowls daily. The cage should suit your birds' adult size, they need to be able to flap their wings without touching the sides of the cage.
Care requirements for birds: Noise, vet care, cleaning the cage, commitment to ownership (some birds can live to be 100 years old).
Adopting a Fish
While fish are not a cuddly pet option, they can be quite beautiful to look at as they swim in their tank. They also require less care than some other pets do. Care requirements can vary depending on the species of fish, but the main thing you need to consider when getting a fish is that you have to keep their tank clean. 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.
Care requirements for fish: Cleaning their tank, proper nutrition.
Adopting a Rabbit
Rabbits are often intelligent and affectionate animal companions. They can be very social and thrive when there is another rabbit to keep them company, rather than being alone (just make sure you adopt two males or two females to prevent the arrival of more rabbits than you initially wanted). The care requirements for rabbits consist of clean bedding, water and food dish, and access to a litter box. The bedding should be made from materials that are non-toxic such as aspen wood or recycled newspaper.
Care requirements for rabbits: Proper nutrition, companionship, constant supervision when they are out of their cage, and cleaning their cage regularly (including changing their bedding).
Adopting a Hamster or Guinea Pig
Hamsters and guinea pigs are small animals that are great for older children, happy to be handled if they've been socialized from a young age and love to be snuggled gently. Both animals need cages and bedding with proper access to food and clean water. And like most pets, they also need toys and accessories-like wheels, chew toys, and tunnels to 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.
Care requirements for hamsters and guinea pigs: 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.