Congratulations! Adding a furry family member to your life brings wonderful emotion and joy. Likewise, a new pet brings with it great responsibility. Before you head off to pick up that Great Dane, or that sleek purring feline, have you considered some lifestyle issues that may get you thinking in a different way? Here are some preliminary considerations:
- Can you responsibly take care of this pet everyday for the next eighteen years? This is a big, long-term commitment.
- Does your lifestyle and the pet’s needs mesh together? If you’re not home very often, you may not want a pet that needs constant companionship. If you live in a small apartment, or have small children, your pet needs may be different than someone who lives on a farm or in a big house with a sprawling yard.
- Have you considered the financial obligations? Pet care usually cost more than first-time pet owners think they will.
Cats and dogs have different characteristics and needs.
Most breeds of cats can cope well with being home alone all day, as long as there is adequate food and water. The younger the cat, the more it may need attention at first.
Dogs, on the other hand, need to be monitored because a new pup chews shoes, needs to be potty trained, and must know he or she is not alone for the first few months of life. If you have a big family, a place for an indoor kennel and lots of supervision, then a puppy or adult dog will give years of love and joy. If you’re single, or no one is home all day, a little kitten may be the best pet for you.
Dogs and cats don’t always get along.
Most people know that canines and felines do not mix. Introducing a new dog to an old cat isn’t always the sparks you hoped to get from your new pet.
Ask yourself how cats and dogs will get along together before introducing a different species into your home.
Small dogs and large breeds require different lifestyles.
Check with your condominium manager or apartment manager before bringing home a Labrador retriever puppy. A dog of this type will grow to sixty pounds or more and may strain the terms of your lease.
Staffordshire terriers (Pit Bull dogs) can make wonderful pets, but not in a city where their breed has been unfortunately banned.
Some small breeds don’t like to fetch. Think about this before deciding between a Golden Retriever and a Chihuahua. Small breeds can usually be left alone for longer periods in a smaller space than a large breed dog. Also, some breeds are just naturally more energetic. Ask your breeder or your veterinarian for advice on the breed, or type of pet that will best suit your needs. You may be surprised to find that perfect little companion that differed from what you had already decided to bring home.
All pets need food and water, and if your lifestyle requires you to be away for more than a few hours, get a high quality automatic pet food and water dish.
Also look into getting a kennel, a dog bed, or a cat scratching post to add years of comfort, as well as playing pleasure to your new pet’s life.
Remember that pets need you to have common sense and compassion – as much as they need your love.