So you and your family are ready to get a new pet, but you aren't certain of what kind to get. There are several important things to consider when adding a new furry family member to your household. Here, our Kent vets discuss types of pets and the rewards and challenges that come with each kind.
Getting a New Pet
Animals can be one of the greatest joys in people's lives. Often our pets will become another member of our family that we love and care for deeply. Different kinds of animals come with different kinds of care needs and challenges, but they all have one thing in common: they rely on you to survive and thrive.
So, getting a pet should be a carefully considered decision to help ensure that you have all of the resources that you need to properly care for your new companion.
Things to Consider
The first thing to keep in mind when selecting a new pet is whether or not they will meet and thrive thing your own lifestyle needs. For example, if you are often out of the house for most of the day, dogs may not be a great choice since they require lots of attention, walks, and outdoor 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:
- 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 run higher bill than a small goldfish tank and fish food.
- 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.
Selecting a new pet isn't always as simple as checking off a few mental boxes. You may think that a dog would be the perfect pet for you, but it turns out that a rabbit or bird would be a much better fit. Make sure to keep an open mind and do your research. If you do both of these things, you should be able to find the perfect pet for you and your family.
If You're Considering 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 that all animals have their 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.
Care requirements to consider: Registering with a license, training, taking them out on walks, and providing the proper food, grooming, and veterinarian care.
If You're Considering a Cat
Cats can make great pets. They are often playful and affectionate - but remember, like dogs, they will each have their distinct personality. Cats are fairly low-maintenance pets once they're fully grown. Cats, however, are known to scratch (and sometimes ruin) furniture, so you will have to be sure to keep their nails trimmed and provide scratching posts to help with this problem.
Care requirements to consider: Changing the litter box, providing proper food and stimulation (toys, scratching posts), nail care, and veterinarian care.
If You're Considering a Bird
If you are keen on having a pet bird, choose carefully. Some avian companions are better suited to life with humans than others
If you're keen on having a pet bird, choose carefully-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 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 flap their wings without touching the sides of the cage.
Care requirements to consider: Cleaning the cage, noise, commitment to ownership (some birds can live to be 100 years old), and veterinarian care.
If You're Considering 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 factor to consider when getting a fish is that you will 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 to consider proper nutrition and tank cleaning.
If You're Considering a Rabbit
Rabbits can be quite affectionate and intelligent. They are also social creatures and thrive when they have a companion rabbit rather than being on their own (just be sure to get two females or two females to avoid a situation where you have more pet rabbits than you'd like). Proper care for rabbits includes access to a litter box, a food bowl and water bottle, and clean bedding. The bedding should be made of non-toxic materials like recycled newspaper or aspen wood.
Care requirements to consider: Cleaning their cage regularly (including changing their bedding), companionship, proper nutrition, and supervision at all times when they are outside of their cage.
If You're Considering a Hamster or Guinea Pig
Hamsters and guinea pigs are small animals that are great for older children. They are happy to be handled and gently snuggled if they have been socialized from a young age.
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 generally require larger and roomier enclosures than hamsters. In both cases, their cages will need to be cleaned daily. Other than the cleaning requirements, however, these are fairly low-maintenance pet options.
Care requirements to consider Regular cage cleaning (including clean bedding), and 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.