What Breed(s), age, personality and size pet is right for you and your family?

Where To Start: Take the New Pet Quiz. A bad match is one of the leading causes of failed human-animal relationships, while a thoughtful match can produce a long-lasting and deeply rewarding attachment. This questionnaire will help you decide whether you can afford the time and money a pet requires—and select the pet that’s best for your lifestyle.

A. If you don’t already have a pet, then you need to decide if you should get a pet. Are your ready for a pet? Even if you already have one, is it a good idea to get another one.

Use this checklist as a starting point for a discussion. Here are 12 questions to answer. Also do some research and get input from others who have gone through this process of picking a pet.

Checklist – Should I get a pet?

B. If you have decided that you are ready for a pet, then you need to define the characteristics you’d like in a pet.

As you answer the following questions, you’ll begin to narrow down your choice of a pet.

  1. Do you want a pet that cuddles next to you or on your lap?
  2. Should your pet alert you when someone is coming to your front door?
  3. Does someone in your home have a disability that would benefit from having a pet companion?
  4. Do you need a pet that doesn’t require 2 to 3 hours of care every day?
  5. Can you accommodate special temperature and humidity requirements of some pets?
  6. Are you willing to do any training required for your pet?
  7. Can your pet accompany you on vacation?
  8. How many years do you envision having this pet as part of your family?
  9. Do any of your family members have allergies to any pets?
  10. Do you already have a pet that needs to be considered?

The answers to which pets may fulfill each of these requirements may surprise you. Having a pet can be one of the best additions to a family. But if you don’t take the time to do your research, you can end up with a pet that is a nightmare.

C. Have some family activities to reach agreement about the characteristics you are looking for in a pet.

Here are some fun family activities to do:

  1. Talk to people who already have that pet. Ask them:
  • How long have they had their pet?
  • What do they really like about having this pet?
  • Are there any things that they find a challenge to having this pet?
  • What did they wish they knew before bringing home this pet?
  • Will they get this type of pet again?

2. Take field trips to your local animal shelters, rescue groups, and veterinarians to find out more about a prospective pet. They should be able to answer questions you have.

3. Do research, both online and reading books to decide if the pet you are considering is truly your perfect pet. Each family member could research a different pet and then report back what they’ve found.

When we take the time to pick a perfect pet, this prevents animals from being unloved and surrendered to an animal shelter. It also prevents a family from going through the stress of dealing with a pet that doesn’t fit with its lifestyle. Just because a pet is cute in a pet store window or your neighbor just got one, doesn’t mean that it’s your perfect pet.

Examine Yourself – Choosing the right dog generally means identifying the type of animal that matches your lifestyle. If you live alone in a small, third-floor apartment, for instance, adopting a large, active retriever mix might not be the best choice. Conversely, if you have a family of four and are looking for a companion to match your active lifestyle, such an animal may be perfect. A dog’s size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness, and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision.

Learn about Different Breeds and Mixes

So how do you find out which dogs have the qualities you’re looking for? Information is the key: Learn about various breeds, visit with animals at the shelter, and speak with an adoption counselor for guidance.

Dogs fall into one of two categories: purebreds or mixed breeds. Most animal shelters have plenty of both. The only significant difference between the two is that purebreds, because their parents and other ancestors are all members of the same breed, generally conform to a specific “breed standard.” This means that if you adopt a purebred puppy, you have a good chance of knowing how big he’ll get and what general physical and behavioral characteristics he’ll have.

Of course, the size, appearance, and temperament of most mixed breed dogs can be predicted as well. After all, mixed breeds are simply combinations of different breeds. So if you can recognize the ancestry of a particular mixed-breed puppy, you have a good chance of knowing how he’ll turn out, too.

Mixed breeds offer several other advantages. When you adopt a mixed breed, you benefit from the combined traits of two or more breeds. You also get a dog that’s likely to be free of genetic defects common to certain purebred dogs. Mixed breeds are often considered the more “natural” dog. When you adopt a mixed breed, you adopt a totally unique companion.

Visit with Shelter Animals

While you’re at the shelter, keep in mind that it is a stressful place for any animal. A kennel simply isn’t the real world. Quite often, a pets true colors won’t show until he’s away from other animals and the shelter environment. So even if you walk past a kennel with a pet that isn’t looking for your attention, don’t dismiss him just yet. He may just be scared or lonely. Spend some time alone with that pet – often after about 15-20 minutes you’ll see his/her true personality. You’d be surprised that shy puppy hiding in the corner may just curl up on your lap and bounce around playing with toys.

An adoption counselor can help you select a dog that’ll match your lifestyle. When you spend time with each animal, you’ll want to ask yourself: How old is the dog? You may want to select a puppy as your new companion. However, young dogs usually require much more training and supervision than more mature dogs. If you lack the time or patience to housetrain your pup or to correct problems like chewing and jumping, an adult dog may be a better choice.

How shy or assertive is the dog? Although an active, bouncy dog might catch your eye, a more quiet or reserved dog might be easier to live with and care for.

How good is the animal with children?  Tips for Selecting and Introducing a new dog/puppy to children.

Learning about a dog’s past from an adoption counselor can be helpful, but past information isn’t always available. In general, an active dog who likes to be touched and is not sensitive to handling and noise, is a dog who’ll probably do well in a house full of kids. Also keep in mind that puppies under six months of age, because of the demanding nature of training a pup, shouldn’t be adopted out to families who have no one home during the day…you should try to find a dog walker or consider doggie daycare.


Choose a Pal for Life

     

Every dog in the shelter can provide you with endless love and companionship, and every dog deserves a lifelong, loving home. But some dogs are better for you and your lifestyle than others. That’s why you should take the time to make a thoughtful choice. After all, you’re choosing your new best friend, who’ll be with you, 10, 15, or even more years. Select the right dog and you and your new companion will enjoy those years to the fullest.

Choosing the Right Cat or Kitten

Cats make wonderful pets. They tend to be less  demanding and can easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Every cat is a true individual, so it’s important to take the time to choose a four-footed friend who’s right for you. A cat’s personality, age, and appearance, as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection.

As you walk past a few cat cages at the shelter, you’ll notice that some cats meow for special attention, while others simply lie back and gaze at you with some apprehension. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the shelter? You need to decide which cat might be best for you and your lifestyle.

At the shelter, ask an adoption counselor for assistance when you wish to spend some time with individual cats. But regardless of individual personality, look for a cat who’s playful, active, alert, and comfortable while being held and stroked. Keep in mind that, because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats who are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while at the shelter- these are the cats that may need extra TLC to come out of their shell-but in the end make loving pets.

Kitten or Cat?

Kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens need more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you’re looking for. Young children usually don’t have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat who’s at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes with kids under six years old.

Shorthaired or Long?

Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short, dense fur, and the choice between the two is primarily a matter of what you feel you can comfortably manage and what the shelter has at the time. You’ll see more shorthaired cats at the shelter since they’re the most popular and common cats. The main thing to keep in mind is that longhaired cats require frequent grooming to be mat-free. Cats with short coats also benefit from brushing, though they do not need it as frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and will look forward to this as part of a daily routine with you.

Room for One More

If you already own a cat or dog, you’re probably wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good news is that cats can get along with other cats and—despite the common stereotype—most dogs can get along with cats. The bad news is, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets will require some patience on your part. For tips and tricks on introducing a new cat to your home and pets

Most Importantly –Be Responsible!

Regardless of the cat you choose, you’ll want to start being a responsible pet guardian from the very beginning The easiest way to do that is to keep your cat indoors with you. There are many reasons to keep your cat/s indoors. If you don’t let your new friend outside, he’ll never miss it, and will have a much better chance of still being around to enjoy a long and healthy life with you and your family.

Adopt a Cat for Life

Finally, remember that you’re making a commitment to love and care for your new pet for his or her lifetime—which could mean 10, 15, even 20 years. So choose your new best friend carefully and be a responsible pet guardian. In no time at all, you’ll know how wonderful sharing your home with a cat can be.

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