How to Choose the Right Pet for Your Family

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. July 12, 2018
How to Choose the Right Pet for Your Family

Some people are not fond of animals. While that somewhat blows our mind, everyone is entitled to their preference. The rest of us should be good candidates as guardians of an animal. However, not everyone has the right domestic set up to have any kind of pet. The size of our home, the amount of time we have to care for an animal and the resources available are all important factors in choosing the type of pet we can adopt.

Whatever your circumstances, we want to ensure you don't decide to adopt a pet impulsively. Animals have such a draw on us humans. Even subtle signals in their facial expressions can lead to our hearts melting and a strong impulse to adopt a pet. However, we can't let emotions supersede the practical considerations we need to make when considering a pet. This is why AnimalWised helps you make these considerations with our article on how to choose the right pet for your family. This information will help you whether your household is a single person or a large brood.

You may also be interested in: How to Choose a Good Vet

Does each person have their perfect pet?

There are many benefits animals can provide at different stages of our lives. For children they teach helpful lessons on responsibility, for elderly people they can provide therapy and for people with autism they can be wonderful support.

Although most of us have the potential to be good pet owners, the right pet does not always choose us. Also, the family dynamic is a significant factor in pet ownership. Often there is one person in a family group which takes on more responsibility than others in terms of feeding, exercising and caring for a pet. Other dynamics involve different family members carrying out different tasks.

However, the animal themselves will often choose an individual family member to follow and be particularly affectionate towards. While this often offends people as they don't see why they shouldn't be considered special. However, the factors which do into a pets preference of human are subtle and often outwith our control, so don't beat yourself up about it.

This does lead us to one of the most important questions we have in considering adopting a pet: why do you want a pet in the first place? You need to answer this question sincerely since your answer will be key in finding out the most suitable furry companion. It may even let you know that perhaps you are not well suited to having a pet. We need to look at what we look for in a pet. This is why we have this short list of general traits according to pet:

Regardless of the pet we choose, be it a hamster or a St. Bernard, we must not lost sight of the fact they are a domesticated living being and, therefore, completely dependent upon us for their needs. They have never learned to fend for themselves, search out food or deal with adverse weather conditions. In return for even the most minimal of care they will fill us with love and unforgettable moments. Whoever shares their life with a pet will understand they are part of the family.

How to Choose the Right Pet for Your Family - Does each person have their perfect pet?

How to get a pet

There are three main ways an individual or family might get a pet: adoption, purchase or gifting. Here we will briefly detail all of them:

Adopting a pet

The adoption of a pet is perhaps the greatest gesture of love we can provide towards an animal. We can't deny there are too many animals in this world which suffer neglect. Many never had a home in the first place or were rescued from environments where they underwent abuse. Luckily more and more people are going down this route and alleviating the overpopulation of abandoned animals.

Caretaking for these animals is performed by government institutions, private practices and mixtures of both. They will collect and home animals of all types, meaning young, old, healthy or with problems. The housing of these animals is generally temporary so that they can be rehabilitated until they are adopted into a permanent home. However, some may have to stay in a facility for the rest of their lives, often due to palliative care needs. Others will be set up with an animal foster home until a more definitive home can be found. Families who want to adopt one of these animals have to go through checks and interviews to determine whether they are a suitable candidate for pet ownership.

Choosing this option supports many causes and provides multiple benefits to the animal population as a whole. This is not to mention the life changing even this will be in the life of the animal.

Purchasing a pet

Purchasing animals is becoming a controversial practice. This is not because there is anything inherently wrong with it. The problem is there are too many abandoned animals without a home and breeders who breed animals for profit are indirectly contributing to this overpopulation of abandoned animals. Many people want to have a pet with the personality, behavior and temperament they can expect from certain recognized breeds.

If you make this decision, it is your prerogative, but you should at least consider the benefit of adopting from a shelter. Often you can find therein animals which are the breed you are looking for, although the majority will be mongrels. If you do decide to buy from a breeder it is imperative you choose a breeder which is licensed, has adequate facilities, lets the animals stay with the mother for the required amount of time, has all the health certificates in place and has no history of abuse.

Some people may look to buying animals online, but it is easier to dupe potential buyers on the internet and there is not always the same system of checks and balances in place. If there is any suspicion of abuse, you need to report them to the relevant authorities.

Gifting a pet

Some people think it is a good idea to buy an animal as a gift. However, this is rarely the case. While an individual might make a good guardian, you shouldn't assume their circumstances or feelings. The adoption of a pet is a big responsibility and the pros and cons need to be carefully considered. Do not assume a person will even want to have a pet. Certainly do not buy them as a way to find favor with a person. Too many animals are bought as gifts, live with a family for a period and are then abandoned when the novelty wears off.

How to Choose the Right Pet for Your Family - How to get a pet

A happy life together

Having a pet means you are accepting the responsibility of having an animal's life in your hands. Whether you choose a bird, a dog, a turtle, cat or rabbit, you need to consider your lifestyle. This includes your economic resources as there is much you need to cover when owning a pet:

While you may have enough money when you adopt them, and with the understanding that anyone's financial situation is subject to change, you also need to consider the future. Will you be able to pay for medical costs/veterinary bills if something was to happen to the animal's health? Do you have enough stability to reasonably assume you will be a able to look after an animal? Answering these questions is important when choosing the right pet for you. Life expectancy of the pet is also a consideration.

We also need to know the dynamic of our household. Some animals are not suitable for young children, so you may want to wait until they are older before getting a pet. Your general lifestyle is an important factor. If you have mobility issues or are not a very active person, then getting a pet such as a dog which requires adequate exercise is unwise and can be indirectly cruel towards the animal. If you have a large pet, but a small home, this is also something you need to consider.

Once you have made these considerations, it is important to remember that having a pet can be one of the best experiences we have in our lives. They can provide unforgettable moments and make difficult times happy ones. Many diseases and conditions which affect our pets are due to stress or anxiety caused by environmental factors. Anyone adopting a pet needs to endeavor to do their best to provide them with the same happiness they give us.

How to Choose the Right Pet for Your Family - A happy life together

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