Choosing the right pet for your family can be a tough decision and it should never be taken lightly. It’s not like going out to buy a sweater, or even a car; this is a commitment to take care of another living creature for the rest of its life. When you bring home a pet – you are making a promise – to provide it with whatever it needs to live a full, happy, and healthy life. You need to do a lot of research, ask yourselves some important questions, and really search your hearts to decide which pet is right for your family.
Here are just a few of the questions you should start to ask yourself – and your family – as you begin the search for your newest family member:
- Why do we want a pet?
- Who will take care of it?
- Do we want a pet that will require a lot love and attention?
- How will the pet impact our family life (traveling, cost, time)?
- Do you have space for the pet?
- Can you and will you provide everything your pet needs? They depend on you for almost everything.
There are so many types of pets available to suit just about anyone’s lifestyle. Let’s examine some of these, based on how much maintenance and care they require.
Low Maintenence Pets
These pets are perfect for a first time pet family. They will require minimal care. They aren’t the snuggly cuddly type of pet that will want to be touched or played with a lot. You can love them, you can care about them, but the less you mess with them, the happier they will be. Some examples of a low maintenance pets are:
- Hermit Crabs
Remember, low maintenance, does not mean — no maintenance!!! You still have to care for these pets and provide them with the best environment possible, so they will thrive.
Medium maintenance pets
These pets require a little more maintenance as far as their care is concerned. Generally, you’ll want to dedicate around 30 minutes to cleaning and feeding them each day. Even though there isn’t a lot of care that goes into these pets, most of them still need your attention and most importantly your love. The more love you give them, the more they will love you back, and enrich your lives.
- Small birds
- Small animals (hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, etc.)
High maintenance pets
Dogs are a high maintenance pet but to their owners, they are worth every single second of it. Dogs have many requirements and you have to be particularly diligent in educating yourselves, to find the breed (or mixed breed) that is right for your family. Far too many dogs end up in shelters or worse, because people don’t take the time to find out if they are capable of such a responsibility.
Some dogs are small and do well in small spaces, other dogs need to do a lot of running and some are happiest when they are working. You have to keep in mind how much time you can spend with them and the activity level of your family as well. Many dogs can suffer from separation anxiety and they can become destructive because they are bored or simply miss you. With proper training, quality care, and lots of love, you will have a loyal family member, who values you more than you may ever know. If you can’t make them an important and highly cherished family memberthen you should probably find a different type of pet.
- Daily feeding, grooming and walking
- Obedience training
- Love, Love, Love
- They need someone to take care of them when you go away on vacation
- They need regular vet visits to keep them healthy
There is so much that goes into selecting the right pet. I urge you to go to your local library, surf the web, talk to your friends about their pets, go to pet stores, contact local rescues and humane societies to do research (volunteering is a fantastic way to help the animals and get a feel for what really goes into pet parenting), and obtain all the information you can before you add a pet to your family.
One more thing I’d like to add; there are so many pet rescues that have pets just waiting to go to their forever homes. They don’t just have dogs and cats; many have a variety of animals. Some pet stores will even have small animals, birds, fish or reptiles that have been relinquished by their owners, which are also for adoption. Open your heart, open your home and most of all love and enjoy your pets.
Do you have a pet? How did you choose which one to get for your family?