Choosing a Pet

Choosing your Pet is something that feels good emotionally, and done hopefully after you are empowered with information.  Although, if you choose your pet emotionally you can always empower yourself with information afterward.   If you are a new pet person there are some factors to consider.

What kind of pet do you want?  What kind of needs are you wanting to fulfill?  Do you want a companion?  A fun friend to play ball in the park?  A furry little guy to snuggle on your lap? Big dogs like to snuggle on laps too.  It's good to know what your needs are going into this exciting adventure of picking a new family member. This is a commitment of about 10 years minimum.  Dogs generally live 9-14 years depending on their breeds.  Some small dogs live into their 20's.  Cats about the same.  

How much time do you have?  Dogs and cats need a person to have some real time for them.  Cats might not act like it but they need lots of time. 

What is your lifestyle like?   Are you mostly at home?  Do you travel frequently?  Like to walk?  It's important to have a pet that fits with your lifestyle.  If you are a traveler, you'll need a pet-sitter or boarding facility.

Pet Affordability - Pets cost money, there's no getting around that.  You'll have food, supplies, medical and misc expenses.

Pet Legalities - Find out the licensing requirements in your county. This is a good thing as it requires the animal be inoculated against rabies.  Many counties require CATS be licensed and inoculated against rabies.

Pet Resources Needed-

Dog park, is one near you?  Where will you walk your dog?  Dog parks are a great place to socialize the dog and you'll make new friends too. 

A Veterinarian, do you know one?  Is one near by?  You'll need one. 

Pet-sitter, do you know someone who can care for your pet if you are out of to? 

Dog-walker, in case you work long hours.

Pet Insurance- for medical needs.

Pet-accommodations- Do you have a fenced yard?  If not, a dog park close by?  You need a space for a pet bed, litter box, food bowls, etc.  Also if you rent, do you need permission from your landlord.  Many shelters require documentation that you can have a pet where you live.  Some even look up in county records if you own your house.
Want a dog?   If so, remember they are instinct based.  Meaning their traits or breeding determines much about them.  For example, a cute little beagle or beagle mix is a hunter.  Which means you may have to do lots of training on recall. This dog will follow the scent, has too, it's in the genes.  Proper training should ensure a happy medium.  It's useful to know about the various breeds because it will give you useful information about your dog.

With a dog comes training, exercise, play and lots of time required of you.  Determine how all this factors in your life.  All dogs need exercise, some need more than others. (terriers for example need tons of exercise) So if your life can not accommodate lots of exercise consider a dog whose breed(s) align with lesser exercise, or possibility an older dog.  Most Mutt's have the genes of many different breeds. When you find yours, the shelter folk usually do a very good  guess on the breeds and exercise needs.  Although pet shelters do have many pure breeds too.

Puppies are just little babies and they need much companionship.  They also need to go outside to use the bathroom very frequently.  Can you be home with the pup for a few months to get all the basics down, like house training?  If you work long hours, can you come home on your breaks to let the pup outside?  If not, pee-pads and crates come in handy with puppies...more on that to come. Cats and kittens are a bit easier because they will use a litter box. 
Want a Cat?  Cats and especially kittens are lots of fun.  You can spend hours watching them stalk and chase a puff of dust...or a ray of sunlight, get the movie camera out when they get in front of a mirror. 

Some are great snugglers, they'll lie on your face when you sleep, in your armpit....they decide when and where you fit into their lives.  

They are easy to the litter box.  Never yet heard of kitten classes like puppy classes.  The best training I ever accomplished with my cats is the 'can-opener'.  Didn't matter where they were, once they heard the can opener they came running.  It was a good way to get them into the house.  Eventually I would just clank on the can and in they came.  Any can would do.  

Cats are very different than dogs, usually more home bound.  Don't need to take them to the "cat park".  In fact you want to keep them far away from any dog parks.  However, cats also need a safe place to go outside.  Lots of toys and much to scratch, otherwise in their eyes every single piece of wood in your house is a scratching post. 

Cats generally just relate different than dogs.  Each has their own wonderful qualities. 

Oh, one very important issues with cats is that they are nocturnal.  They're energy level goes up as the sun goes down.  This can be a problem for some, especially the neighbor downstairs if you live in a condo or apartment.   One way to deal with this is to keep the cat active during the day or early evening.       

Which ever you choose, you will learn a lot and have a blast!     



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