If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, put some thought into it. After all, a pet will become a member of your family. Think ahead to find the perfect match for years to come.
Here are some things to consider.
When choosing a new pet, one of the most important things to weigh is how much time you’ll have to groom and care for them. Be realistic when you think about this.
There’s no such thing as a pet that doesn’t require care, but some are much easier to take care of than others. Just within the dog family, for example, there are a wide range of grooming and companionship needs. Some dog breeds are known for wanting lots of “cuddle time” with their humans, while others are OK with being left alone for periods of time.
The same thing applies to their health and grooming needs. Pet care could require just a few minutes every day or many hours, depending on your pet, so think long and hard about how much of your time you’re willing to devote to them.
NOT ON A WHIM
Another mistake some pet buyers make is choosing their new pet on a whim. This is a big decision, not to be taken lightly. That means you need to spend time educating yourself on all the positive and negative aspects of any animal you’re considering making a part of your family.
Finding a good, reputable pet store can help with this. The best ones will have in-depth knowledge about different kinds of pets — ideally with employees who love animals and have lots of firsthand experiences they can share about living with them day to day — so take your time and find people who can help you learn, not just sell you an animal.
YOUR HOME AND LIFE
The best pets will always be a good fit for your lifestyle — including the place you live.
Some pets require a large yard, pasture land and room for exercising. Others will be perfectly fine living in a corner of a tiny apartment. You should also consider your local climate and whether it’s a good fit for the animals because your area may be considerably hotter, colder, wetter or drier than the animals’ natural habitat.
The equipment, cages, tanks or toys can vary widely, too, so ask about all the extras your pet will require and think about how that can fit into your living space.
The age of your children can play a big role in the decision, too. Some pets will do well with children, while others require more caution and perhaps shouldn’t be owned by anyone with kids. Again, a reputable pet store could help you make that decision.
Being a good pet owner means making a lifetime commitment to your pet. And that means thinking through how your life and needs could change in the coming years or even decades.
Mice and hamsters may have a lifespan of only a couple of years, which can be a good thing for pet owners — or perhaps children — who don’t want to make a decades-long commitment.
The average dog or cat may live 10-15 years, though, which is a long time to plan for. It can impact not only your choices about where to live for the next decade-plus, but also mean finding care or boarding services for times you want to travel.
And a few pets, like large birds and tortoises, have lifespans that span many decades, meaning there’s a good chance they could outlive their middle-aged human owners. That might mean planning for their care in your own will.
Whatever type of pet you choose, you should know how long of a time span you’re going to be committed to caring for them. With a careful choice, you’ll have many years of loving companionship to experience in your own life.