If You Must Choose, Choose Wisely


 The hammock has put the both of them to sleep

Pets can fill many needs in your life.  They can be friends, com­pan­ions, and mem­bers of your fam­ily.  They can help reduce stress and alle­vi­ate depres­sion.  How­ever, the wrong pet can be an annoy­ance, a stres­sor, even an enemy.

Pick­ing the right pet can be the dif­fer­ence between con­tent­ment and full-blown war.  So, to para­phrase a wiser man than myself, if you must choose a pet, choose wisely.  Here are a few fac­tors to consider:

Lifestyle

Pets need to fit into your lifestyle with min­i­mal dis­rup­tion.  That means you’ll want to take your lifestyle into con­sid­er­a­tion when pick­ing a pet.  If you’re an out­doorsy type and like to spend time out in the fresh air and sun­shine, a dog might a good fit.  Many dogs need reg­u­lar exer­cise and activ­ity, and they’ll be happy to pal around with you out­doors.  If you’re more of the indoor type or if you’re out of the home a lot, you may not want to opt for a dog, as they need lots of atten­tion, train­ing, and inter­ac­tion.  Cats, though, are a bit more inde­pen­dent and han­dle being sep­a­rated from their own­ers bet­ter than dogs.  Choos­ing the ani­mal that best fits into your lifestyle will be ben­e­fi­cial for both you and your pet.

Home Envi­ron­ment

If you like your house neat and tidy, hav­ing a free-roaming dog or a long-haired kitty may not be the best thing for your blood pres­sure.  Do you have lim­ited space in which a pet can frolic?  You may want to steer clear of ani­mals that need a lot of area to run and play.  In both these cases, you may be bet­ter off choos­ing a pet whose ter­ri­tory is con­fined to its liv­ing space, like a fish or guinea pig.

Chil­dren and Elderly

Small chil­dren and elderly folks are frag­ile and may not be suited to larger pets, which may acci­den­tally injure them.  Kit­tens, pup­pies, and smaller dogs that can eas­ily get under­foot may not be a good idea either.  You may find that older ani­mals who a used to deal­ing with kids or have set­tled down a lit­tle are bet­ter for kids and older people.

Other House­hold Animals

If you already have ani­mals in your house, you need to con­sider how they’ll react to hav­ing new addi­tions hang­ing around.  While dogs and cats may enjoy hav­ing a new pal to play with, they may resent shar­ing your affec­tions with other ani­mals.  That can lead to aggres­sion and gen­eral unpleas­ant­ness.  Make sure you take your cur­rent furry friend’s feel­ings into consideration.

Cost

Noth­ing worth hav­ing in life is free, and that includes pets.  You’ll need to pay for food, bed­ding, toys, med­ical bills, licenses, not to men­tion the poten­tial cost that may crop up from pets destroy­ing your fur­ni­ture or land­scap­ing.  If you’re unem­ployed or not mak­ing a lot of cash, you may want to go with a smaller, less costly pet, like a fish, or per­haps forego hav­ing a pet altogether.

Health Issues

Ani­mals can pass dis­eases to the own­ers, but for the most part, the biggest health con­cern involved with get­ting a pet is aller­gies.  If you have fam­ily mem­bers with pet aller­gies, you may want to avoid furry ani­mals that shed a lot.  Another option is to look for fuzzy com­pan­ions that are hypoal­ler­genic, although that may be a bit more costly.

As you can see, there is plenty to think about before you take the leap into pet own­er­ship, but as long as you care­fully con­sider the pros and cons and make the right pet choice, you’ll be able to make an affec­tion­ate buddy for life.