What Kind of Pet is Right for You?


Find Your Perfect Pet

Deciding to bring a pet into your family is a big responsibility. There are many factors to consider before you welcome your new friend into your home. Your budget, environment, allergies, personality, lifestyle and health are all important to consider when deciding what type of animal will best fit you and your family. Ultimately, you want your pet search to be a rewarding experience.

Animals have personalities, just like humans, so certain types of pets are better suited for various environments and personalities. A myriad of pet choices beyond cats and dogs are available, so careful consideration of your needs and the animal’s needs are important. Dog ownership is work, so a dog may not be the best pet for you, but it is important to keep in mind, regardless of the pet you choose, you must be a responsible owner.

Six Pet Characteristics to Consider

You must be dedicated to providing for the needs of your new pet. These needs can range from extensive grooming to a simple daily feeding. To help discern what type of pet is best suited for your home, consider these six important factors.

1.   Environment – Will you be bringing your pet into an apartment, a small home or a large farm? How much space do you have both indoors and outdoors? Do you live in the city, suburbs or the countryside? Can you offer a safe outdoor environment for pets? The more space you have available, the more appropriate the environment is for a larger, more active animal.

2.   Activities – How active is your lifestyle, and how active do you desire your pet to be? Knowing things like why animals like to play may help you to better understand pet activity needs. Are you looking for an exercise companion, an adventure seeker or simply a friend to keep you company while you relax at home?

3.   Physical Demand – Caring for large pets or pets that require a lot of attention and exercise can be demanding on the owner. Are you physically capable of meeting the demands of a pet with extensive habitat needs? Exotic pets sometimes have odd environment requirements. Some other things to consider are small pet care, planning for your pet’s future, and preparing for a disaster.

4.   Time – How much spare time do you have to dedicate to looking after and interacting with your pet? How often are you home? Some pets need a great deal of attention and care, while others can be left at home for hours without a hiccup.

5.   Budget – How much of a financial commitment can you make to your animal? The range of financial need varies from pet to pet, and it is important to find one that will easily fit into your budget. Pet expenses include costs like food, housing, toys, veterinary visits and various daily needs.

6.   Health – Many people are allergic to certain types of animals and animal fur. Yes, allergy medication can make it possible to live with an animal that sheds thick fur. However, you should carefully consider the cost of allergy medications and the extra care you will have to take in grooming your animal and cleaning your home. There is new scientific research that shows pets share owner’s diseases and that there are some links between our pet’s health, and the quality of the environment they share with us.

Veterinarian Dr. Ron Hines DVM PhD, has a good article about  the rules for choosing the right pet. In his article Dr. Hines says there are things to consider when buying a pet. First, he says think it through, “decide why you would like a pet.” Know your specific needs. Don’t impulse buy, and shop around for the type of pet you want, and at a cost you can afford. Think about how long the pet’s life-span is, and how long you will be responsible for your pet’s care. Consider getting a rescue. Finally, be sure to match the pet you want to your home, and lifestyle. Choosing the right pet is important because Dr. Hines states, “our pets often become our best friend, and companion.”

Three Main Types of Pets

After you determine the answers to the questions above, you can further narrow your search by considering what type of pet you are looking for. Pets generally fall into one of the three categories below.

1.   Companion Animals: Examples of companion animals are cats, fish, birds, dogs and horses. It is important that these animals closely match your lifestyle and personality. For instance, a large active family might be best suited for a dog or horse, while a more sedentary family may prefer a fish or hamster. Did you know that pets help fight depression and can be beneficial for your health? Animals provide benefits like love, activity levels, routine, touch and social interaction that our pets can provide. Leading to better health, fewer sick days, and overall to the good feelings they give to us as pet owners.

2.   Working Animals: Your choice of pet will be much narrower if you require an animal for a specific purpose. Guiding the blind, pulling heavy loads and hunting are common duties of working animals. Petfinder has a brief article on service dogs vs. therapy dogs that identifies these specialties. If you are looking for a pet to perform a specific duty, your decision will be more about breed than type of animal.

3.   Show Animals: These animals require a major commitment to grooming and training. Before choosing a show animal, thoroughly evaluate how much time and money you are able to dedicate to your animal.

Purchasing Your Pet

Once you have identified your ideal type of pet, it is time to buy or adopt your pet. Visit the humane society website if you are considering adoption. The American Kennel Club can help you find a breeder if you are looking to purchase a particular type of dog. You can visit Animal Planet for a quick pet-picker quiz if you need help finalizing your decision about a furry, or perhaps not so furry, friend.

The correct choice of pet, can provide you with years of pleasure, fun, improved health, and stress relieving benefits, which the right pet can provide.

Additional Resources




Print Friendly, PDF & Email