How to Choose the Appropriate Pet for Your Lifesyle

I could start out by saying something real academic sounding such as research as shown that owning a pet can improve the quality of your life and reduces stress. Who am I kidding? Anyone who owns a pet knows how much having that special cat, dog, birdâÂ?¦(whatever pet that has become a member of your family), in your life has enriched it. We didn’t need any scientific data to confirm that. You know those scientists, though; they always want to know the reasons why. I’m not going into the chemical changes that petting and caring for an animal can bring about in your brain that acts as a natural antidepressant. I’m going to discuss the basic privileges and responsibilities that go along with owning pets.

When you first decide to obtain a pet either for yourself of your children you need to realize that depending on the lifespan of the particular type of pet that you have in mind, this decision should not be undertaken without some prior thought. Since dogs and cats, two of the most popular domestic pets have a lifespan that can last up to 15 years for dogs and even longer with some breed of cats. We are not talking a short-term commitment. You’re pet could easily outlast your first marriage; but I digress. You should go about choosing the correct breed of dog whose basic personality characteristics will best fit into not only the environment that you plan to provide but also your lifestyle.

If you live in a small apartment and have neither the time nor the space to let the dog have room to exercise and outright run choosing a dog bred for hunting or herding is a downright bad idea. Don’t roll your eyes; you would be shocked at the number of people who go to the animal shelter/pet store looking for an adorable puppy with no thought of what they are going to do with that pet when s/he grows up. If you have chosen a Labrador retriever puppy and you come home to a torn up apartment after having been at work all day long; you don’t have a dog with a behavioral problem. He has a master with poor judgment! It is especially important with small children to pick breeds that have an inbred gentle and patient nature.

I shouldn’t even have to say this but unfortunately people don’t always think. If you have young children in the houseâÂ?¦.the Pit Bull is not an option. It isn’t the breed of dog that is bad. It is people who make poor decisions when they decide to purchase one without knowing they can provide a safe and secure environment for them. The same goes for cats. If you can’t provide a clean litter box consistently, prevent overpopulation, feed it correctly, and keep them in a safe and secure environment. You shouldn’t take on the responsibility of kitten.

Now, that I’ve given you the lists of why you shouldn’t have a pet; let’s get to the good stuff. You’ve decided that you are willing and able to take on the responsibility and care of the pet. You’ve done your homework and you’ve decided what type of pet will mesh with your lifestyle and home let’s decide where to go to obtain one. Going to your local animal shelter or “pound” is a great idea. Providing a good home to an abandoned or unwanted pet can be a very positive experience for both of you. If one of your friends has offered you a cute puppy or kitty make sure that the puppy/kitten is a complimentary breed to what you need and that both are in good health. Since most dogs and cats from the shelter are often mixed breeds you can usually still tell dominate breed traits by how the dog or cats look. Talking with the people who work at the shelter or pet store can help you to determine breed traits, better yet, that particular animal’s personality traits. If you are obtaining a cat to be a companion for someone elderly, oftentimes it is more prudent to obtain a full grown cat with good personality traits. Please beware of puppy mills, pet stores with suspect purchasing policies (those who obtain their animals from puppy mills), or animals not raised in clean and spacious environments on farms. Any animal that does not start out with a clean bill of health don’t adopt them unless you know how to take proper care of the animal and are prepared to do so (including paying veterinary bills).

When talking about personality traits when you choose a pet don’t choose a pet when you are rushed for time. When going to the shelter/pet store or place of proposed purchase/adoption, schedule a time where you can spend time with the animals you are choosing from. Watch how they interact with your children, other littermates, and most importantly you. Whoever is going to be the primary caregiver of the pet should always be the one choosing the particular animal if it all possible. I’m going to use kittens as an example but these principles can be used with most pets (well, maybe not fish or reptiles). Does it look at ease with other litter mates (playing, sleeping, eatingâÂ?¦etc)? Does it seem to like you once it has had time to get used to your scent and presence? Does it appeared threatened? Will it let you pet, touch, and hold it? Does it appear healthy (clear eyes, good walking stride appropriate to age, clean soft coat, rounded but not distended belly, clean ears, no symptoms of skin diseases, healthy paws, clean under and around tail, no excessive scratching/shivering, no excessive nasal discharge, sneezing, or problems breathingâÂ?¦etc.). The final test and probably the most importantâÂ?¦does it steal your heart away? The last one you don’t have to openly admit too; but you do need to feel a real connection to the pet you choose before deciding it’s a good match. If you were going to buy a car you wouldn’t go to a lot, point at a car and say, “I guess I’ll take that one it’s as good as any.” Don’t do it with a pet.

Before bringing your pet home make sure that you have already prepared its environment with fresh food and water, clean litter box, bed, cage, or whatever the pet is going to require. It is best to bring the pet to your home during a time that it is calm and quiet. Allow it to get used to you and explore its environment with patience. If you have other pets allow the new pet a secure environment so that it and your resident pets can become used to each other without incurring injuries. With either cats or dogs it is recommended to purchase an appropriate cage/container/pet traveler to insure an easier transition. Having a young pet in one room with your presence during the first hours of arrival also helps them to transition easier. As eager as young hands are to play with the new pet; allow the pet time to acclimate to his environment first. Thereafter enforce rules of handling the animal safely and gently with supervision until your children are capable (and are old enough) to play with the pet on their own.

CONGRATULATIONS on your new addition!

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