Adding a pet to your family is a wonderful experience, but making a decision can be difficult if household members can’t agree on the type of pet that would fit in best. Before making a spur-of-the-moment choice, carefully consider the type of pet who would fit in seamlessly with your home, family, and lifestyle. Whether you’re considering a playful pup, curious kitty, or other exciting addition, read our Flora Family Vet team’s guide to learn how to navigate the pet-finding process.
Consider how your lifestyle fits with a pet’s needs
Before scrolling through Petfinder or visiting local animal shelters, evaluate your lifestyle. A family who is always on the go matches best with a low-maintenance pet, while a family who has more free time to devote to a pet can opt for a more needy pet. By determining the type of pet that will fit in best with your lifestyle, you minimize potential problems that may lead to unfortunate circumstances such as having to make the heart-wrenching decision to surrender a pet to a rescue group. When evaluating your family’s lifestyle to determine the type of pet whose care requirements match best, consider the following:
- Activity level — How active is your family? Do you spend your weekends curled up on the couch, binge-watching Netflix? Or, does your family enjoy outdoor activities that take you on all sorts of adventures? If your family spends more time at home and prefers low-key hobbies, a cat may be the perfect pet. Senior dogs or ones with low exercise requirements are also good for homebodies.
- Free time — In general, dogs require more time and attention than cats or exotic pets. A dog will need outdoor bathroom breaks, in addition to outside time for play and exercise. Dogs often enjoy companionship more than cats, and may suffer from separation anxiety if left home alone, so consider the amount of time you have to spend at home with a pet. While cats are typically more independent, they still require social interaction and playtime for their mental and physical wellbeing.
- Available space — While large pets often require large spaces, smaller pets also need plenty of room to play, exercise, and rest. Regardless of species or breed, a pet with too little space can suffer from behavioral and physical problems, so ensure you have ample space inside and an outside area that a pet can use and enjoy.
Research pet species and breeds
Pets come in a wonderfully astounding array of sizes, colors, personalities, and other characteristics. Each pet is totally unique, so finding the perfect pet can be quite the adventure. Although you may have difficulty refraining from making an emotional decision based on a puppy’s adoring eyes or a kitten’s silly antics, research the following species and breed characteristics:
- Temperament — Considering a pet’s personality and temperament is crucial, especially if you have children. For various reasons, such as the pet’s size or general temperament, some breeds do not do well with small children, so consider your family structure when assessing a potential pet. You may also choose between a pet who is aloof or friendly, has a high-energy drive or a laid-back disposition, and countless other variations that make up the perfect family addition for you.
- Health concerns — Many breeds develop genetic conditions that require lifelong management. For example, German shepherd dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, while English bulldogs are the poster child for environmental allergies. Carefully research your favorite breeds to understand their potential health issues, and consider that these problems are a possibility when choosing your new pet.
Evaluate whether your budget is enough to cover pet care
Financial constraints are exceptionally important to factor in when considering a new pet. If your budget cannot accommodate your chosen pet’s needs, the financial strain can interfere with the relationship you have with your pet and damage it beyond repair. Before bringing home a new pet, determine whether your budget can cover the following costs:
- Initial cost — Pets’ initial purchase prices vary greatly. Some pets fall into your lap for free, while others may cost thousands of dollars. You should also factor in initial upfront pet-care supply costs. These are items you don’t need to purchase regularly, such as a crate or carrier, litter boxes, food and water bowls, climbing towers, scratching posts, and other large items.
- Supplies — Pet supplies are costly. After purchasing your pet’s initial supplies, you will need to pay for their food and treats, toys, bedding, and all the other items they need to stay happy and healthy. Determine the amount a pet’s supplies may cost each month and whether your budget can cover it.
- Services — Determine if your pet will need training classes, regular professional grooming, boarding, walking, and other services, as these can be pricey.
- Veterinary care — From wellness care to emergency services, ensure you can afford your pet’s health care needs throughout their lifetime.
Welcome to the family! We can’t wait to meet your newest addition and start them on their path to a lifetime of happiness and wellness. To schedule your new pet’s first wellness visit, give our Flora Family Vet team a call.