According to the American Pet Products Association 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households own at least one pet. Dogs and cats remain the most popular types of pets, with freshwater fish, bird and small animals as the next popular pets, respectively. If your family is part of this percentage, you already know the unlimited joys of having a pal in your family. And, if you’re thinking about adding a new pal or an additional pal to your family, below are a few points to take into consideration.
1) Match your pet to your lifestyle and personality: Are you a night owl or an early riser? Some pets like ferrets, hamsters and sugar gliders spend much of the day asleep and are more active at night. Keep this in mind, especially if your pet’s cage is in your bedroom. How about your work schedule? Do you work long hours or do you travel often? If so, a more self-sufficient pet like a cat might be the better choice for your lifestyle. Don’t forget about the kids either. If you have kids, pets can be a great way to help them learn responsibility. Just make sure they are able to provide for the pet (i.e. play and activity, fresh water, a clean place to play, sleep and relax etc.) when you’re not there to do it first.
2) Match your pet to life at home: Do you have a big backyard with lots of shade and an enclosed fence that’s perfect for Fido or even an indoor/outdoor cat? Or do you live in apartment where pets, besides fish, aren’t allowed? In either case, it’s important to remember your home environment will also be your pet’s home environment and their needs should be taken into consideration.
3) Consider an animal’s lifespan: It may seem like an unnatural thought and question to ask yourself when adding a pet to your family, but being realistic about the life expectancy of your pet can help you both be happier together. We all know pets become a part of our families immediately, and it can be a traumatic experience when they pass (especially for children). While dogs, cats, and birds can live more than 10 years, other pets like small animals may only live two or three years. However, tortoises and goldfish have been known to have lifespans that rival our own.
4) Cost: Just like children, pets require financial responsibility. Before any pet joins your family, outline a yearly budget of what it will cost to give your pet the best life possible. This should include the cost of food, shelter and veterinarian bills. Keep in mind as your pet ages, just like us, their health will most likely become more volatile and the cost of keeping them healthy may rise.
No matter your choice, we encourage you to share the joys of owning a pal through our Facebook page.