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How to Choose the Perfect Pet for Your Family

How to Choose the Perfect Pet for Your Family

So you're ready to commit to the responsibility of owning a pet, but you're not sure what kind to get. There are loads of things to consider when adding an animal to the family. Here, our Southgate Animal Hospital vets discuss types of pets and the rewards and challenges that come with each kind. 

Choosing a New Pet

Our vets know that one of life's greatest pleasures is spending time with animals. Our pets quickly become integral members of our families, whom we adore and cherish. Different animals pose different challenges and require different levels of care, but they all have one thing in common: they rely on you to live. As a result, getting a pet should be a carefully considered decision to ensure that you have all of the resources necessary to properly care for your new companion.

A Few Things to Consider

The first thing to consider when selecting a pet is whether the animal will fit into your family's lifestyle. A dog, for example, may not be a good fit if you spend the majority of your time away from home because they require a lot of attention, walks, and bathroom breaks. Instead, you could get a cat that can easily spend 8-10 hours a day alone. Other questions to think about are:

  • Is it financially feasible for me to care for the pet I want? Every pet comes with a price tag, but some are more costly than others. A dog's vet bills, for example, are likely to be higher than a small goldfish tank and fish food.
  • What is a good match for the personalities of my family members? A dog is a great pet for an outgoing and extroverted family because dogs are outgoing themselves. If your family is made up of introverts, a cat or rabbit might be the perfect companion.
  • Do any of your family members have allergies? If being around pet fur makes you sneeze, a reptile might make a more suitable pet. 
  • Is your family up to the task of providing care? Each type of pet has distinct requirements and methods for meeting them. Cats need their litter boxes changed regularly, hamsters and guinea pigs need their cages cleaned regularly, and reptiles may require a diet that makes some people squeamish (like bugs and mice). Make sure you're prepared to meet the needs of whichever pet you choose.

Choosing a pet isn't always as simple as ticking a few boxes in your head. Perhaps you think a dog would be the ideal pet for your family, but it turns out that a rabbit or bird would be better. If you keep an open mind and do your homework, you'll find the ideal pet for you and your family.

Thinking About a Dog?

The process of choosing a dog begins with deciding on a breed that will fit into your home and lifestyle. Conduct some research on the temperament of the breed as a whole (but remember that all animals have their personalities as well). Some dogs are content to sit at your feet all day, while others can be boisterous and bold. Size should also be considered. If you live in a small apartment, a smaller dog is probably a better option. Large dogs require a lot of space to run around and exercise.

Care requirements to consider: Registering with a license, training, taking them out on walks, and providing the proper food, grooming, and veterinarian care.

Considering a Cat?

Cats are wonderful pets. They are frequently playful and affectionate, but remember that they, like dogs, have distinct personalities. Cats, once they reach adulthood, are low-maintenance pets. Cats, on the other hand, are notorious for scratching (and sometimes ruining) furniture, so keep their nails trimmed and scratching posts available to help with this problem.

Care requirements to consider: Changing the litter box, providing proper food and stimulation (toys, scratching posts), nail care, and veterinarian care. 

Perhaps a Bird Would Be Best?

Do your research before deciding to keep a bird as a pet; some birds are more suited to human companionship than others. Cockatiels can be trained to speak and even perform tricks, whereas budgies are affectionate and enjoy being handled. Keep your bird's cage tidy, with fresh food and water bowls added every day. Your adult birds' wings should be able to flap in the cage without touching the sides.

Care requirements to consider: Cleaning the cage, noise, commitment to ownership (some birds can live a very long time), and veterinarian care. 

Wondering About Fish as Pets?

Fish are not soft, cuddly pets, but they are quite beautiful to watch swim around in their tank. In comparison to some other pets, they also require less care. The level of care needed varies depending on the species of fish, but the most crucial thing to remember when buying a fish is that their tank must be kept tidy. If you're considering getting more than one fish, find out which species get along with each other by doing your research and asking the pet store. Some fish are predatory toward one another.

Care requirements to consider: Proper nutrition, tank cleaning. 

Thinking About Getting a Rabbit?

Innocent and loving animals, rabbits are. They are also social animals that prefer to be with a companion rabbit to being left alone, and they thrive in that environment (just make sure to get two females or two females to avoid having too many pet rabbits). For proper care of rabbits, it is necessary to have access to a litter box, a food bowl, a water bottle, and clean bedding. For bedding, it is best to use non-toxic materials like aspen wood or recycled newspaper.

Care requirements to consider: Cleaning their cage regularly (including changing their bedding), companionship, proper nutrition, supervision at all times when they are outside of their cage. 

Maybe a Hamster or Guinea Pig Would Be Best?

Hamsters and guinea pigs are small animals that are great for older children because they are happy to be handled if they have been socialized from a young age and enjoy being gently cuddled. Both animals require cages and bedding, as well as access to food and clean water. To stimulate their minds, they, like most pets, require toys and accessories such as wheels, chew toys, and tunnels. Guinea pigs require a larger, more spacious cage than hamsters, and their cages must be cleaned on a daily basis. Apart from the cleaning requirements, these are low-maintenance pet options.

Care requirements to consider: Regular cage cleaning (including clean bedding), proper nutrition. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have a new dog or cat? Our vets offer a comprehensive range of veterinary services to help keep your furry family member happy and healthy. Book an appointment at Southgate Animal Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Southgate Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Southgate companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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