As we go through life we inevitably we will ask ourselves this age-old question; should I get a pet? Before making a decision, and going to the shelter to pick up an animal, it’s important to look at the many factors that go into this decision to figure out which pet is right for you:
- Do I have time and energy that having a pet takes?
- Do I have space to house a pet, and if so, what size and type of pet should I choose?
- Am I away from home for long periods of time?
- Do any members of my family have allergies that could be limit what animals you have?
Lets look at each of these points in more detail.
Do I have time and energy that having a pet takes? Say you’re in your twilight years and don’t enjoy high energy activities. A horse, or a St. Bernard may not be the right choice for you. But say you’re a stay-at-home mom, living on a farm or a huge property then these might be a good choice. St. Bernard’s are gentle giants, great with kids, but they need room to roam. A horse needs, feeding, grooming, exercise, but could be a great choice to teach children responsibility, new skills, etc. The cost can also impact your choice, taking care of a horse, vs a dog comes with higher costs from stables, food, and vet bills. It’s also harder to find a sitter on rover for your horse.
Do I have space to house a pet? Let’s say you live in a studio apartment; then a cat or small dog may be your preference, if you live in a house, a larger dog could be accommodated; always consider all the options; making sure if you have children you look for a pet that is the recommended temperament for a child. For example if you’ve just had a baby, now is probably not the best time to get a puppy, or introduce a new dog to the family. Waiting 6 months to a year allows you time to adjust to your newest family member before adding a new one.
Am I away from home for long periods of time? So you are in a job or profession where you travel a lot; then maybe a dog is not for you. A dog needs companionship, exercise, trips outside to use the bathroom etc. A cat can be left for a longer period of time, with today’s auto feeding systems and pet sitters this makes life easier. If your cat or dogs will be alone while you are at work, having a furry sibling may help them play and be happier. Make sure to take your time introducing a new pet to the family so integration goes smoothly!
Do family members have allergies that could effect this decision? Hair allergy, pet dander allergy, the list goes on and on. If this is the case perhaps a fish, turtle, or bird is more in the realm of possibilities. Many think owning a fish is easier than a cat, but fish, turtles and birds take their own kind of care and can be harder to rehome in case of a life emergency. Turtles live anywhere from 10-80 years, with some birds having an average life span of 40 years!
So in conclusion, take your time to consider which pet is right for you. Remember cute kittens and puppies grow up; the biggest mistake people make is falling in love with this cute little critter only to discover months later that they become cats and dogs, and no longer want this animal. Pets are a treasure and can bring love and happiness into your family. Think long and hard before making a decision that will affect your family for the rest of this pet’s life!