Whether it’s a gold fish or a Great Dane, pets are awesome—they love you unconditionally, even when you’re having a bad day. If you’re currently not a pet parent but would like to be, it’s very important to do your research before jetting off to the nearest shelter or pet store. While pets have a way of making life better, if you choose the wrong one to bring into your home then life could easily take a turn for the worst. Rather than adding chaos and stress to your life, take a few minutes to truly figure out which type of pet is best for you, so you and your new amigo can live in harmony.
When deciding which type of pet to bring into your home, you need to be honest with yourself about how much time you can devote to your new pal. A full, hectic schedule with frequent trips away from home will not leave much time for getting acquainted—making a non-social animal (such as a fish, reptile or rodent) an appealing choice. If, on the other hand, you have a decent amount of free time and a fairly regular schedule, a larger pet such as a dog, cat or bird may fit nicely into your routine.
Health is another important factor to consider before getting a new pet. Does anyone in your household suffer from pet dander allergies? If so, which ones? Make sure your choice doesn’t lead to allergic reactions. Your ability to physically interact with your pet is also crucial—dogs need to be walked a few times per day, so if an injury, condition or ailment prevents this from happening then an active animal probably isn’t a good choice.
While the original cost is usually the most expensive, a pet is an ongoing investment. If your finances are limited, it’s best to choose a pet with minimal monetary demands. Pet food, vet bills, grooming and pet accessories all add up pretty quickly, so think it out ahead of time—the last thing you want to do is have to find your new pet a new home when you find you can’t afford to keep him.
Where you live will make a big difference on what type of pet you should get. For starters, if you rent, check with your landlord—many do not allow pets, or have limitations requirements that restrict pet ownership. Apartment dwellers or those with limited outside space are also restricted when choosing a pet; dogs in particular need room to run. If you own a home and have plenty of green space, the possibilities are endless.
What are you willing to tolerate?
Pets are animals, which means they aren’t always clean. They all come with their own special little dirty secrets that you must learn to embrace (or you’ll end up holding a grudge). No matter what type of pet you get, that pet is going to poop, and since they can’t use a toilet, you’ll have to take care of it. Whether it’s your yard, a litterbox, a fish tank, a bird cage or a hamster house, it will need to be cleaned regularly or you’ll quickly end up with a reputation for having a stinky home. In addition to fecal matter, you also need to decide how much hair you’re willing to put up with. Some pets shed enough to make a sweater a day, while others barely leave a trace—choose wisely.