Choosing a Pet – How To Decide on the Right Pet For Your Family

So you're thinking about getting a pet. Perhaps your children are hounding you for a furry friend. Or maybe there's a spot on the sofa that really needs to be filled by a cute bundle of fur. There are so many benefits to owning a pet - but - with pet ownership comes a lot of responsibility.

The amount of work, expense and time that goes into having a companion animal varies from pet to pet, so let's look at different types of pets, and which may be most suitable for you.

Dogs and Puppies

The unconditional love and unbridled joy that a dog or puppy can add to your life is unmatched in the pet world. Canines are furry bundles of love, and dog ownership offers many benefits. It teaches your children to be good listeners, compassionate, and moral people. It helps kids learn how to be responsible for another living creature. And dogs really do provide companionship.

So, you are probably asking, what are the drawbacks? Dogs and puppies need a lot of attention, time and training, not to mention food, accessories, pet medications and veterinary care. If your family is on a very tight budget, or simply is too busy to give the dog the face-time it needs, a dog may not be the best choice. If you are considering a dog or puppy as your family pet, make sure you can afford its' keep, and that you have the time to spend training, hanging out and playing with your dog.

Cats and Kittens

Cats are very popular as pets. They are also beautiful, fluffy and affectionate, but much more self-reliant than dogs. Most cats can be left alone all day (or even overnight) without ill-effect. Cats tend to eat less that dogs (with the exception of the toy variety of dog), and they don't require twice daily walks, intensive training, or constant supervision. Cats and kittens are super easy to house-train, too. Just give them a litter-box and some litter tucked away in a quiet corner of the basement, and you can rest assured your cat will litter train itself.

There are some minuses when it comes to cat ownership, however. Quite a few people suffer from allergies to cat dander, which can make it difficult to be around cats. Cats, by nature, like to sharpen their claws. Many a cat has been known to destroy living room furniture with their claws, although a cat scratching post can sometimes serve as a good alternative for the cat.

Finally, cats shed - sometimes a lot. If you are a neat freak, this may be something you would not appreciate. So if considering a cat or kitten for your pet, be sure to think about whether you can handle cleaning the litter box on a daily basis, vacuuming a lot, and dealing with the possibility of furniture damage.

Small Animals and Rodents

If your child has a hankering for a hamster, or is goading you into getting a Guinea Pig, small pets can be an excellent choice. It's important that your child be old enough to handle the responsibility of feeding their pet and changing its' cage bedding regularly (unless you don't mind doing it yourself).

Additionally, your child needs to be mature enough to realize that these pets are living creatures and not toys. In the right circumstances, a small animal can be a wonderful pet - just don't expect it to greet you at the door or perform tricks.

Keep in mind, too, that if you have other family pets such as cats or certain breeds of dogs such as terriers, pet rodents, rabbits and other small pets are a very BAD idea. They will quickly become an expensive and heart wrenching snack for your dog or cat.

Exotic Pets

Exotic Pets Snakes, lizards, turtles, iguanas and other reptiles and amphibians can make very interesting pets, but they are not for the squeamish. Keeping such a pet is more like a hobby than having a loving, warm-blooded pet like a dog or cat.

These creepy critters need equipment such as a terrarium in which to live, and may also require such accessories as heating lamps, heating rocks, foliage, etc. Some reptiles, such as snakes, have a rather gruesome diet; dead rodents. Feeding such a diet is not a task for the faint of heart (or stomach). If you are thinking of getting one of these exotic and unusual creatures, make sure you can handle the care requirements.

Pet Fish

Now here's a pet most people can easily manage. A goldfish or tetra in a small bowl makes a fun and easy pet to take care of. Inexpensive, nice to watch, and not in need of much time or attention, a fish or two can make a great starter pet for most kids.

And if one wants to get fancy, fish aquariums can be very elaborate, incorporating all different kinds of salt water or fresh water fish and aquatic plants. This is a hobby that can be very expensive and time-consuming, so only consider it if you have the time and resources.

With so many types of pets to choose from, choosing a pet can be a daunting task. Be sure to do your research about what each type of pet needs - and offers - so that you'll be prepared when you begin your search for pets for sale or adoption.

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