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Selecting The Right Pet For You!

  1. When considering a pet always research the characteristics and needs of that particular species or breed of animal.  Impulsive choices can make for years of regret or the sorrow of a lost pet.
    • That said, be careful with the information you find online, as there is no regulation.  If you ARE looking online for cat or dog breeds, we suggest starting with the American Kennel Club.  The next best place to look would be that breed's rescue organization and/or club (most breeds have one).  You can find information about genetic problems within the breed, what to look for, and sometimes you can get a referral to a reputable breeder.
    • For rabbits, ferrets, other small mammals, birds or reptiles, please refer to our page on exotic or traditional pets.  We've worked hard to make sure we keep all our information accurate and up to date for what's best for your pet.  Although there are books at the library for these species, they're often outdated and are missing information or have poor information.
  2. Looks and behaviors are selected for and bred into animals for a reason.
    • Herding dogs will have a tendency to chase and nip.
    • Terriers are inherently aggressive as hunters and can show that same tendency toward people or larger dogs, getting them into trouble!
    • Some breeds of dogs are instinctively better with children, while other breeds are not recommended around children, or only with caution and supervision.
    • In general, while most breeds of cats are very quiet and good-natured; others are instinctively vocal and high-strung.
  3. Certain animals are very adaptable and trainable, while others are not.  No animal is born knowing what you want and how to live in your environment.  It must be trained.  The breed with the unique looks may not be the one best suited for your training expertise.
  4. Bring your pet to training classes, or ask a trainer or your vet what they recommend prior to your purchase or adoption.  These experts can provide valuable insight on the different dog breeds and which may best fit your needs.  Enrolling your dog and yourself in a training class can make all the difference between a well-mannered member of the family and a chronic headache.  Don't forget, we offer training classes here at our facility.  Even kittens can benefit from training and socialization.
  5. Consider your environment when selecting a pet.
    • Dogs will require some form of containment outdoors, either a fence or leash.  Large dogs will need more room to exercise indoors and out.
    • Cats can easily and willingly be kept indoors, eliminating the need for outdoor accommodations.
    • Most small mammals and reptiles are ideal for apartments because they require little space.
    • Birds can be noisy...some species definitely more than others.
    • A pot-bellied pig may be cute at six weeks, but may not make a good apartment pet at 250 pounds.
  6. Consider your schedule and life style.
    • Dogs require much more personal attention than does a cat or fish.  Dogs require frequent trips outdoors for exercise and elimination as opposed to other pets.  If denied, these dogs can create significant problems in the home.
    • Birds, reptiles and small mammals require a time commitment to preparing meals and meticulously cleaning cages.  Although these pets are fun for children to care for, an adult should always be prepared to be involved in the daily care process - it's just too much to expect of a young child.
  7. Think through carefully the maintenance cost and responsibilities assumed with pet ownership.  Things to consider are costs of food, cleaning and caging supplies, veterinary costs, training costs.  Discuss these needs with all family members and consider the effects this new member of the household will have on everyone involved.  It's also important to be prepared for the what-if's.  Illness, hit-by-car, emergency surgery, hospitalization are always a concern.  Now's the time to consider pet health insurance.  A pet is not a disposable commodity; a pet is a lifelong obligation.  Assume it wisely.
  8. Visit your local humane organization or county animal control shelter, but remember that some adult pets have already developed many habits (good and bad) that you may have to deal with.
    • Be sure to ask questions about their background and the volunteer's perceptions while working with them.  If there are obstacles to be overcome, be sure to determine if you have the time and energy to devote to it.  Often these pets are turned in because of lack of training and bad behavior.  Other times, officers confiscate the pets if found roaming freely.  These behaviors are usually correctable if done with patience and the right techniques.  These pets are often the most in need of the right home.
    • All that said, there are many well-behaved wonderful pets that may have been turned in for other reasons (owners had allergies, moved, etc.)  Seeking a pet at these shelters is not only commendable, but is encouraged.
  9. Your veterinarian is the ideal source of information and recommendations for appropriate selection of a pet.  Pet stores, breeders, and shelters are in business to place animals in homes and may be knowledgeable to help in your selection; however, they do have an agenda.  A veterinarian is an unbiased third party and therefore, is still a valuable resource in making your pet selection.  Schedule an appointment to visit your local veterinarian and discuss your interest in a pet.
  10. Enjoy your pet; there is no better friend.

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