According to the NAVC’s recent Voice of the Veterinary Community study, helping animals on a daily basis is what veterinary professionals cite as their favorite part of their job (77%), followed by doing meaningful and purposeful work (65%). But on the flip side,...
Springer spaniels are some of the most energetic, loyal, best-suited-to-be-a-companion dogs in the world, affectionately nicknamed a “velcro” breed for their clinginess. While this is a recipe for perfection for some folks, it might sound like a nightmare to others.
When deciding on what pet to get, there’s a ton of factors to consider to make sure you find a furry (or feathery or scaly) little friend that’s compatible with both your lifestyle and your personality.
Your personal preferences will certainly come into play, but it is very important to have an open mind as you approach pet ownership. The best pet for you may not be your first choice or a very traditional option.
What Do You Need and What Do You Have to Offer?
Choosing the best pet for you is a balance of determining what is very important to you and what you have to offer a potential pet.
Choosing the best pet will be a careful balance between what you want and what you have to offer.
People who are searching for a new pet are often looking for a companion. Pets can offer a wonderful source of companionship to make your home feel a little bit warmer. However, animals that offer a strong sense of companionship also crave it back, so expect a “needy” pet who is always searching for your attention!
The animals that offer you the most engaged experience and the strongest sense of companionship are often the ones that need the most from you. A dog is a classic example, but some birds like intelligent parrots also have high companionship demands.
You may be looking for a pet that can make your evenings at home a little bit more fun-filled. Pets have an uncanny ability to make us laugh and forget our troubles even on the worst of days.
All sorts of animals can fill your home with entertainment in a number of different ways. Exotic animals like a lizard, snake, or insect can entertain you for hours just watching them live in their natural environment. Some species like this will engage with you to some degree as well.
Activities like feeding, introducing new decorations into the environment, and other activities can be very entertaining. Even something as simple as a small fish tank can offer hours of entertainment in the long run with minimal investment.
Many of the species that you may find most entertaining to watch, like exotic species, have very extensive demands in order to be healthy and happy. Even a small fish may need more care and specialized equipment than you expect with changing the water, feeding, cleaning the tank, and more.
Do your research and take your pet store’s recommendations for how an animal should be kept with a grain of salt. Pet stores are too often willing to keep animals in inappropriate enclosures, sometimes even for the purpose of making it seem like the animal is easier to care for than they really are.
Serve a Function
Some people want pets for more reasons than just companionship. An animal can be both your beloved pet and a hard worker that can improve your life in a number of ways.
Your cat can be a wonderful companion and offer a great deal of emotional support at the same time as they are very efficient at ridding your home of pests. A dog can be your best friend and also offer protection to you or your home.
If you want more from your pet, think carefully about the functions that they might be able to serve and whether you want them for more than just the function. Remember, taking on animal ownership can be very demanding and may take a lot more than you originally realized when you bring an animal into your life.
Some Pet Options, What They Offer, and What They Require
Here are a few of the pets that you might be thinking about, along with some important points about their care and requirements.
When most people think about getting a new pet, they are typically thinking about a cat or a dog. For many people, a dog is the pinnacle of a companion animal. Dogs come in a wide range of personalities and sizes so you can choose that best one for your lifestyle.
Dogs with short hair versus long hair may be much less likely to trigger an allergic reaction, which can be a very important consideration for some people. However, remember that no dog is truly hypoallergenic, so it is best to expose yourself to a couple of the breeds that you are considering to determine how your reaction will be.
Remember that even the smallest dog and the least energetic breeds still demand a lot from their owners compared to other types of pets. If you are considering a large or high-energy dog, you will need to devote a significant amount of time, effort, and energy into keeping your dog healthy and happy.
Dogs that do not receive the care that they need can develop behavioral problems or become destructive. Think very seriously about whether you are willing to make a commitment to dog ownership.
If you are on the fence, an ideal solution for many people is to try fostering a dog from their local shelter. You may be surprised by the range of dogs you have to choose from. You’ll be doing a great thing for the dog and you can try dog ownership in a safe and non-committal way.
Along with dogs, cats are some of the most popular companion animal choices. Cats don’t require as much active engagement with their people as dogs do, for the most part.
Because they can use a litter box and because most are happy when left alone, you can work longer hours and still keep your cat perfectly happy when you get home. Experts advise that you not keep a cat alone, as they seem to do best when they have another cat. However, adding a cat to a one-cat household can be tricky — so think about getting 2 cats at the same time, rather than one now and then another down the line. If you are considering cat ownership, be ready to take on two individuals.
Also note that cats live a very long time, often longer than dogs, so be ready to commit 15 or 20 years.
Parrots, Cockatiels, and Parakeets
Parrots, cockatiels, and parakeets are becoming increasingly popular. They come in a huge range of types with varying intelligence levels and talking ability. Parrots often form a close bond to their people and may even believe themselves to be mated to their owner.
Do your research and be prepared for a lot of commitment if you are considering one of these species. You can also choose to keep a couple of parrots of the same species together so they are less dependent on you, but in this circumstance, many parrots are unwilling to socialize with their human caregiver. Also, parrots have quite a long lifespan — sometimes 40-60 years. So, be ready for a long term commitment. They have been known to outlive their owners!
For most people, smaller parrots, cockatiels, or parakeet species are advisable over the larger species. It is best to provide more than one individual of the same species and give them plenty of room.
If you do not have places for your birds to fly freely at least some times, it may be best to choose another species, as living in a cage all the time may not be a very high quality of life for your parrot unless you have an extremely large cage.
Small animals like hamsters, gerbils, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs are often excellent choices for many people because of their low needs in regards to space and interaction. Some small animals, like rabbits and guinea pigs, may even be able to roam free-range in your home. Others, like rats, are extremely intelligent and social, able to form meaningful bonds with their caretakers and with one another.
For many people, the thought of any small animal, much less a rat, is completely undesirable. Don’t fight your instincts if this is not a type of animal that you want to consider, but if you’ve never thought about small animals, they may be a pet worth your consideration.
Exotic animals require a lot more care than they often get as pets. Slowly, hobbyists are beginning to understand the complex needs of exotics so they can live happy and healthy lives.
In general, it is best to start with some of the common exotics in the trade, like leopard geckos. However, even when you are choosing species that are common in captivity, it is your responsibility to provide all of the essential care that these animals require to thrive.
Choose Your Vet Right Away
It’s best to have your new vet lined up before you even bring your new pet home, and if you have an unusual pet, to make sure you find an accessible, qualified veterinarian who is familiar with the species or breed.
Consider downloading Airvet to help make the veterinary portion of having a pet easy. Airvet instantly connects you to a qualified veterinarian when you need it, saving you time and money while also letting you rest assured that you’re getting the best care you can for your furry (or feathery or scaly) friend! You can check out Airvet’s FAQ here for more info. Good luck finding your new best friend!
Have a question about what pet is right for you? You can always chat with a vet on Airvet about your options!
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