Friday, November 18, 2011

How To Choose a Pet... 10 Things to Keep in Mind

There are many things to consider when choosing a pet.  Many things need to be considered for each specific pet, but there are some that need to be considered for EVERY pet on the market.  By considering these factors first you will be able to narrow down the massive pet selection that is available to help you find the right pet for you.

1.  How much room do you have?  Do you live in an apartment, condo, or house?  Does the house or condo have a lot or a little yard space?  The question of space is very important. If you have tons of space you will have tons of options if you only have a small space you are  more limited on what you should choose.  You wouldn't want to try and shove a Great Dane into a small one room apartment now would you? .

2.  How big will the pet get?  Keep in mind that most pet stores are selling pets as babies or juvenile and they are going to grow and while that little tiny green iguana seems like the perfect choice he will eventually grow to a maximum size of 6 feet.

3. Rules of the House.  If your living in a rented space there are usually rules as to what if any pets you may own. You should always consult your landlord before even considering a pet.  We had a young lady come into our store with a $1500 dog she bought from a pet store in the mall.  When she left the mall she Then called her landlord to see if it was ok for her to have the dog.  He said NO you already have one you can't have a second.  When she tried to return the dog they wouldn't take it because she had already left the store.  She was out $1500 because she didn't check with her landlord first.

4.  How much will it cost to care for your pet?  The actual pet is usually the cheapest part of the purchase.  A red eared slider costs anywhere for $5 to $30 but the habitat will cost $150 + just for the initial setup.  Then there is the cost of food in the case of the slider frequent water changes,  replacement habitat supplies, vet care, pet sitters if you ever plan on going on vacation and plenty of other unforeseen costs that can add up.  Even in the best of times people can become overwhelmed with the cost of their chosen pets care.

5.  Does anyone in the home have allergies.  You can have the doctor do an allergy test or just hang around the animal of choice and see if you get the stuffy sneezy and watery eyes  of allergies.  Buying a pet only to find out someone is allergic can be an emotionally painful experience, especially if it is a young child who my feel responsible for the loss of a new found friend.

6.  How much Time do you have?  Some pets require lots of time and attention.  Ferrets require at least two hours of playtime a day and guinea pigs can become severely depressed if left alone for long periods of time.  While a tarantula doesn't care a wit if your there or not as long as he gets his crickets.  Make sure you match the time you have to spare to the time it takes to care for and play with your chosen pet.

7.  Are there any Big changes coming your way.  Now you can't plan out your life perfectly but there are some major changes you will know is on the way.  You aren't going to suddenly wake up married ..... unless your in Vegas.  You know 9 months ahead of time if there is a new addition on the way.   Major changes are not only stressful for you but for many kinds of pets as well.  Dogs can get stressed out over unfamiliar situations where as a gecko probably won't even notice as long as his heat lamp comes on and food is plentiful.

8. How active are you?  Do you need a high energy pet to keep you busy or are you looking for the sedate pet that will lounge around with you while you watch tv?  The right kind of dog can make a great jogging buddy or maybe a tear around the house chasing the toy your carrying cat or ferret will make your day.  Maybe you just want a lazy guinea pig or bearded dragon that will sit on your lap while you watch CSI.  How much you want to move it will affect which pet is best for you.

9.  Do you already have a pet at home?  When considering multi-pet ownership you want to make sure your pets don't clash ... and I'm not talking about their colors.  You need to decide whether or not the friend you have will hunt or be hunted by the pet you are considering.  Remember that even thought they all have been breed as pets they still have strong instincts.  Do you really want to leave that $300 pineapple conure  alone with that pussycat.... kind of an expensive meal for the cat don't you think?  Also don't forget that some breeds of dogs were created to hunt specific small animals ... so you might want to think twice before leaving that rat terrier alone with your hamster.

10.  What is the pet's life span?  Some pets like mice and hamsters only live a couple of years.  Others like the African Grey or Russian Tortoise can live from 50 to 70 or more years.  Are you ready for such an early  loss or life long commitment or do you want something in between say a dog or indoor cat at 10 to 20 years.

You need to consider all these things before narrowing down your selection.  You should never walk into a pet store a buy a pet you know nothing about just because it's just happens to be the cutest thing you have every laid eyes on. 

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