Choosing the right pet for your family is a decision that requires a lot of consideration and often some compromise. While many families welcome a new pet into their families based on emotional, knee-jerk decisions, this heartfelt choice does not always result in the best match to ensure a lifetime of love and companionship. 

Before rushing out to the nearest animal shelter or scrolling through Petfinder for hours, decide what type of pet you would be matched with on a dating app—or rather, a pet ownership app. To determine the pet species that is right for your family, read our Adamson Veterinary Services team’s 10 factors to consider when deciding on a new pet.

#1: How much time can I spend with a pet?

Key to determining the pet type that will best fit into your family is the amount of time you have to devote to their care. Consider the amount of time your potential pet will require for exercising, grooming, training, feeding, cleaning up after, and interaction. For example, a betta fish has much less time-intensive requirements than a German shepherd puppy. 

#2: How much training does the pet need?

In general, older cats and dogs require less training than kittens and puppies. While you may need to brush up on household manners with an adult pet, they typically know how to fit into family life. Young pets, on the other hand, need to be taught how to interact correctly with other animals, people, and the world around them, in addition to receiving basic obedience training.

#3: What are the pet’s daily exercise requirements?

Various species, and breeds within those species, have vastly differing exercise needs. Senior pets generally require less exercise. If you enjoy spending your evenings curled up on the couch, devouring books and snacks, an older cat might be the perfect pet for you. However, if you enjoy hiking in new places every weekend and exercising throughout the week, a high-energy working- or sporting-breed dog can make a great companion.

#4: How much can I budget for a pet’s care?

A pet’s care, including initial and ongoing supplies, wellness and emergency care, training, grooming, and boarding, can be costly. In addition, certain dog and cat breeds command a high purchase price. Carefully investigate the amount of money you have to provide a potential pet with the basics (i.e., food, water, shelter) each month, and add the costs of preventive veterinary care, training, grooming, and other needs. 

#5: What pet type or size is acceptable in my housing situation?

If you rent your home or must abide by homeowners association rules, a pony might not be a feasible pet. Before bringing home any type of pet, determine if your housing situation restricts specific species or breeds, or enforces a size limit.

#6: How much room do I have for a pet?

Consider the room you have available inside your home and safe outside space for a pet who needs to spend time outdoors. While you may be thinking about getting a small dog because you have limited indoor space, some small breeds are incredibly active and need plenty of room to run and exercise. Some exotic pets, such as birds and turtles, also require much more space than you might think, and you must ensure they have a comfortable, spacious habitat.

#7: What type of pet will fit my lifestyle?

If you’re constantly traveling for work or pleasure, or have little free time to spend at home, a pet who thrives on companionship is not a good fit. Choose a pet who doesn’t need a lot of interaction and handling and who prefers solitude, if you are rarely home.

#8: What type of pet will get along best with my current pet?

If you already have a pet, consider the type of additional pet that would be a good fit. If your elderly dog is painful and arthritic, a hyperactive, rambunctious puppy may not be a good choice. If your pet prefers to be an only child, opt for a pet who will not interact much with your current pet. For example, if your cat does not like other animals, consider a fish, bird, or another pet type that will stay safely ensconced in a habitat.

#9: Why am I looking for a pet?

Consider why you want a pet. Do you want a furry companion to cuddle or an exotic creature to gaze at in wonderment? A potential pet’s purpose will greatly influence the type you choose to welcome into your family.

#10: Can I make a lifelong commitment to a pet?

Although unexpected circumstances can arise that result in making heartbreaking decisions, owning a pet is ideally a lifelong commitment. Think carefully before bringing home a sulcata tortoise, which can live up to 70 years. You may be more comfortable with a hamster, who only lives about three years on average.

Welcome to the family! We are eager to meet your new pet. For help deciding on a pet, or to schedule your new pal’s first wellness visit, call our Adamson Veterinary Services team.