Do you want to adopt a new pet but don't know which one to get? In this blog, our Powder Springs vets share important things you need to consider when choosing the perfect pet to join your family.
Adopting a New Pet
Animals are an amazing joy to have in life. And often, our pets become part of the family that we care for deeply.
While each type of pet comes with its own set of requirements and challenges, they all share one thing in common: they count on you to survive. Therefore, you have to think carefully about the pet you choose, making sure you have everything you need to properly take care of your new animal family member.
Things to Think About
When picking a pet, the first thing you need to consider is if their needs match your lifestyle. As an example, if you spend most of your days away from home, a dog may not be a suitable choice because they need lots of attention, bathroom breaks, and walks. In this situation, you may adopt a cat instead, because they can stay at home by themselves for 8-10 hours a day. A few other questions you need to ask yourself are:
- What is a good match for my personality? If you're outgoing and extroverted a dog makes a great pet as they tend to be quite outgoing themselves. If you're an introvert you might prefer the quieter companionship of a cat or rabbit.
- Do I have allergies? If being around pet fur makes you sneeze, a reptile might make a more suitable pet.
- Am I financially able to care for the pet I'm choosing? All pets come with a cost commitment, but some are more expensive than others. For example, a dog's vet bills are likely to run a higher bill than a small goldfish tank and fish food.
- Can I manage all the care requirements? Every type of pet has different needs and ways to accomplish their care. Dogs require a large time commitment but cats need to have their litter boxes changed, hamsters and guinea pigs need their cages cleaned regularly, and reptiles might require a diet that makes some people squeamish (like bugs and mice). Make sure you're committed to the care requirements of whatever pet you choose.
Picking a pet involves more than just meeting a couple of mental boxes. Perhaps you believe that a dog may be the best pet for you, but a bird or rabbit is your actually animal soulmate. Remember to keep your mind open and do your research, so you will end up bringing the perfect pet into the family.
Considerations For a Dog
Choosing a dog starts with considering a breed that will suit your home and lifestyle. Do some research about the breed's general temperament (but remember that all animals have their own personalities as well). Some dogs are calm and content to sit at your feet all day while others can be bold and boisterous. Size should factor in as well. If you live in a small apartment a smaller dog is probably a better choice. Large dogs need ample room to run 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.
Considerations For a Cat
Cats can be amazing pets. Most of the time they are both affectionate and playful - but keep in mind, like dogs, each cat has their own unique personality. Overall cats are relatively low maintenance, once they become adults. On the other hand, they are notorious for scratching (and sometimes ruining) furniture, so you will need to keep their nails trimmed and give them scratching posts, to help manage this issue.
Care requirements to consider: Changing the litter box, providing proper food and stimulation (toys, scratching posts), nail care, and veterinarian care.
Considerations For a Bird
If you're keen on having a pet bird, choose carefully-some are more suited to human companions than others. Budgies are a popular choice because they can be quite affectionate and enjoy handling while cockatiels can be trained to talk and even perform tricks. Keep your bird's cage clean with food and water bowls replenished daily. The cage should suit your birds' adult size-they need to be able to flap their wings without touching the sides of the cage.
Care requirements to consider: Noise, veterinary care, cleaning the cage, commitment to ownership (some birds can live to be 100 years old).
Considerations For a Fish
While fish are not a cuddly pet option, they can be quite beautiful to look at as they swim in their tank. They also require less care than some other pets do. Care requirements can vary depending on the species of fish but the main factor to consider when getting a fish is that you will have to keep their tank clean. Some fish are predatory towards others so if you're considering getting multiple fish be sure to do your research and speak to the pet store for more information on which types of fish get along well.
Care requirements to consider: Cleaning their tank, proper nutrition.
Considerations For a Rabbit
Rabbits are often intelligent and affectionate animal companions. They can be very social and thrive when there is another rabbit to keep them company, rather than being alone (just make sure you adopt two males or two females to prevent the arrival of more rabbits than you initially wanted). The care requirements for rabbits consist of clean bedding, water and food dish, and access to a litter box. The bedding should be made from materials that are non-toxic such as aspen wood or recycled newspaper.
Care requirements to consider: Proper nutrition, companionship, constant supervision when they are out of their cage, and cleaning their cage regularly (including changing their bedding).
Considerations For a Hamster or Guinea Pig
Hamsters and guinea pigs are small animals that are great for older children, happy to be handled if they've been socialized from a young age and love to be snuggled gently. Both animals need cages and bedding with proper access to food and clean water. And like most pets, they also need toys and accessories-like wheels, chew toys, and tunnels to stimulate their minds. Guinea pigs require a larger, roomier cage than hamsters, and their cages should be cleaned daily. Other than the cleaning requirements, however, these are fairly 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.