Picking out a pet isn’t always easy. Most people gravitate towards either a dog or a cat, but there are plenty of other options like rabbits, birds, fish, mice, and gerbils. You may find that one of these other pets actually suits your lifestyle better.
By the end of this guide, you should be able to narrow down your ideal pet choice. Then, all you have to do is go and pick it up. You may be able to find your dream pet at a local animal shelter, or you can look at getting a ride to a shelter a little out of the way with your whole family, through something such as a New York group transportation.
Think About the Age of Your Family
If you have younger children that tend to be a little rough with pets, even accidentally, then you may want to consider a bigger pet. Smaller animals like ferrets, mice, gerbils, rats, and rabbits are easily scared and can even be scared to death if they aren’t treated right.
On top of that, since they are so small, their natural response is to get aggressive to protect themselves. This means they will often lash out and bite instead of just backing off or going somewhere else. The same goes for small cats and dogs as well.
The loud noises can also disrupt small animals and stress them out, so if you have children that tend to be loud and run everywhere, you either want an animal that doesn’t really get handled frequently like a fish or turtle, or a calm and older animal that isn’t going to react.
Consider Any Allergies
This may go without saying, but before getting a pet, you should make sure you consider any allergies your family may have. Even mild allergies can become problematic by living with a pet. Even animals listed as hypoallergenic aren’t completely perfect, as their saliva can still cause reactions for some.
Consider getting allergy tests to make sure no one is allergic to a pet you are considering, especially if they’ve never been around one before. It’s never a fun time to try and explain to children why you have to give up their favorite pet or feel the guilt of dropping a pet off at a shelter.
Understand Their Health Care and Requirements
Many people often overlook health care for their pets. Even if you don’t have a lot of pet emergencies, you will need a vet to perform basic check-ups, give vaccinations, and prescribe medicines. However, there are many vets that only work with specific animals. Most vets that focus on house pets really only focus on dogs and cats.
Even rabbits and mice are often considered to be exotic pets, and can’t be handled by most veterinarians. It is recommended that before purchasing a pet, you understand which local veterinary clinics can work with that animal and their average costs.
You also want to make sure you understand your potential pet’s needs. Do they need exercise? How much space do they need, and are there certain foods or things that are harmful to them? Rabbits are a good example. They may be cute, but they can easily be scared by loud noises and die of heart attacks. Additionally, if they flail around too much, like when being picked up, they can break their backs.
If they fall and don’t land correctly, even from the height of a couch to a floor, they can injure themselves pretty severely. Understanding these kinds of care requirements is important to make sure your pet is given proper care and a good quality of life.
Unfortunately, most toys and pens you buy online and in-store aren’t made with these things in mind. Hamster balls and exercise wheels don’t fit every pet, and, even if they are the same species, can cause back issues or pain if your pet isn’t the ideal size. Most cages are far too small, especially if they are always in there, and toys can have some harmful properties in them, such as cedar pine chips for a rabbit or clumping cat litter for cats.
Understand Local Laws
You can’t just get any animal you would like and put it in your home. If you are renting, you have to first make sure your landlord is okay with a pet, and what kinds of pets specifically. Also, you need to also look at local laws.
Some states and even cities ban certain breeds of dogs, for example. Others only allow a certain number of pets and only certain genders, such as putting a limit on the number of male chickens you can have.
Some animals are outright banned as pets. Pigs have become a trendy pet to have right now, but you have to be in a city that has the right laws to have one. Many don’t allow pigs in the home, or as pets, so you need to make sure you understand what is allowed in your area.
It is also a good idea to look to the future. If you plan on moving during the lifespan of the pet, you need to consider where you would be moving to, and how having that pet limits you. Rodents aren’t allowed in many countries, which means you couldn’t take your rabbit, chinchilla, or rats overseas. With pit bulls and bully breeds banned in many cities across the US, you reduce your possible future living locations pretty dramatically.