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Things to consider when buying a pet

Updated on January 23, 2008

Things to Consider

When buying a pet, there are many, many things to take into consideration.

Do you know what kind of pet you want?

What are you looking for in a pet?

What size pet are you looking for?

Do you want a cat, dog, ferret?

Or do you want rat, mouse, hamster, lizard, snake, etc?

Are you looking for a companion or a working animal?

You need to take into consideration the type of lifestyle you have; active, inactive to your family size and structure. You also need to take into consideration any potential allergies, not just yours but also your family's. What's your financial status? Can you afford to take care of a pet long term? They can get very expensive, depending on the pet.

Once you have considered all these options, you can start the process of picking a pet to meet your needs and lifestyle. If you decide on a small animal, you should, if renting, check with your landlord to see if they allow pets. They might not like any pets, caged or not.

You will also need to do your research. Will the pet you choose be okay being held and played with by children, or only adults? Do you have existing pets, say cats or dogs, that might not get along with or adapt with the pet of your choosing?

Always research the pet you choose before bringing it home. You might find information about that pet that completely changes your mind. You don't want to decide on a hamster only to find out they are high maintenance and tend to bite a lot. This could greatly upset a child who would want to hold the pet, as they couldn't if it was always biting. Rats, while they initially bring a bad image to our minds, are actually able to form quite solid bonds with humans, and tend to be gentle and cuddly when handled appropriately.

Do your research and find a pet that displays the qualities you are looking for. If you choose a snake, will you feed it live or frozen food, and can you feed it mice and rats without hesitation? Snakes are actually a lot more responsibility than most would assume and if you are considering a snake, especially a large one, I highly recommend that you do in depth research about caging and handling needs before actually purchasing a snake.

If you decide on a cat or dog, once again, look at your lifestyle, but with some additional questions. Can you afford the vet bills required to vaccinate your pets every year. Food is more expensive for larger breed animals. There are rules about leashes, poop scooping, and registering your pet. You should know them before acquiring a pet. Where will your pet stay while you are at work? Will you adopt from a breeder, pet store, animal shelter, or private advertisement in the newspaper? A pet store or breeder should be able to give you background information on the pet, if they cannot, be wary of improper or inhumane breeding services.

Research breeds and temperaments before choosing a pet. If you are looking for a lap dog, small is not necessarily the answer. Many people adopt breeds like Jack Russels thinking they have a cute little lap dog, and are surprised to learn how much energy these little dogs have to burn. When dogs get bored, they develop behavioral issues such as aggression and destructive behavior. They needs structure and discipline no matter how large or small. If you cannot offer that, you should not consider a dog.

If you are going to have an outdoor pet, is there adequate shelter for it? Do you need a taller fence or dog/cat house? How much access do strangers have to the animal?

Also, don't forget to consider everyday costs, like food, toys, treats, pet deposits and rental increases, collars and leashes, etc. If you are considering a puppy or a kitten, remember that they will have to be trained. That there will be accidents on your carpet and you may consider crate training a puppy. They will chew stuff up if they are bored.

Animals are messy, no matter how you look at it. Any and all animals add additional cleaning time to your life. They cannot tell you when they are ill and need to go outside to have an diarrhea or vomit. There will undoubtedly be accidents, despite the best training one can offer. Be prepared to have extra chores and consider how much time you have to spare before choosing a pet. What it really boils down to is that each pet has individual responsibilities and you should research individually before choosing to take home any new creature.


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      breeding hamster 8 years ago

      A thoughtful article, and a good introduction to choosing a pet. Care should also be taken when deciding whether or not to breed your pet.