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Choosing the Right Pet

Updated on December 17, 2011
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Owning a pet is not unlike rearing a child, both are dependent on you for love, guidance and care.

Unlike a child, however, a pet cannot tell you when he is ill or when he needs attention.

For an older person a pet can provide very needed and wonderful companionship.

And as we all know, one of the greatest pleasures of childhood is owning a pet. For a child and pet to grow up together generally creates a friendship unequaled in the youngster's life. How many of us can recall our childhood affection for a pet-it's a memory that so often lingers on long after many human friendships have been forgotten.

How many people, children and adults alike, can resist the fondling of a puppy or kitten or appreciate the boisterous, affectionate welcome of man's best friend on arrival home after a hard day's work.

A dog becomes a devoted member of the family and provides good company and loyal companionship. Acceptance of your pet as a member of the family depends on adequate training at an early stage.

A pet will be a healthy member of your family provided it is fed correctly, well trained and given affection. This is not difficult as pets are generally easily pleased and will repay your kindness a hundredfold.

They win us over with their enthusiastic tail-wagging, frolicking, slobbery kissing, nuzzling, cuddling, and pur-r-r-ring.

But while a dog or a cat can bring laughter, love, and cheer into our lives, it also brings responsibilities.

"Caring for a dog or cat is much like caring for a young child. It is clearly a relationship in which someone totally depends on you," says Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M., Ph.D., veterinarian (and father) in Eugene, Oregon, and author of Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.

Just like being a good parent, being a good guardian for a dog or cat requires both wisdom and knowledge. On the following pages you'll find lots of tips to help you take care of your pet. Mix with plenty of love, and you'll be well on your way to having the healthiest and happiest animal on the block.

Points to Remember

  • Make sure you select a healthy pet.
  • Contact your veterinarian regarding desexing.
  • Prepare a pet's medicine cabinet including first aid and grooming aids. Keep out of children's reach.
  • Pay particular attention to training.
  • Pay particular attention to warm, dry and draft-free housing.
  • Pay particular attention to worming.
  • Keep a complete health record on the chart provided in this book.
  • Register you dog with the local council.
  • Be sure your pet wears a personal identification disc.

If you haven't yet chosen your pet...

The first step in owning a pet is to decide the type of animal you would prefer and the one most suitable for your environment.

For instance, never select a large dog if there is insufficient space in your yard, also bearing in mind that the larger the animal the larger the food bill.

A small breed may be more desirable as a house pet and can be transported more easily as a member of the family.

Watch dogs are generally selected from larger breeds, however, there are a number of smaller breeds just as capable for this purpose. Experienced breeders are in a position to advise you on the breed most suitable for your particular requirements and a visit to one of these is recommended. This is also suggested if a cat is to be chosen.

There are many breeds with varying temperaments- nevertheless, a cross-breed kitten usually makes as good a child 's pet as any specific breed.

You will have a happy, contented and healthy pet if you consider it in much the same terms as rearing a young child.

Once a type of pet has been selected there are many avenues available for its purchase.

Pet shops are in most suburbs, breeders and kennels are listed in the telephone book and the A.S.P.C.A. and various pet protection societies always have pets available as reasonable prices. Also look up pet rescue groups, who rehome unwanted or abandoned pets, giving them a second chance at life (otherwise they end up on death row at the pound).

The sex of the pet should be taken into consideration. A female is generally more docile, affectionate. and peaceable. If you do not wish to breed you must have your pet desexed or keep a close watch on a female when heat periods are anticipated. There is nothing worse than an unwanted litter of kittens or puppies neglected and left to fend for themselves. Desexed male cats also make docile pets.

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