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If You Must Choose, Choose Wisely

 The hammock has put the both of them to sleep

Pets can fill many needs in your life.  They can be friends, companions, and members of your family.  They can help reduce stress and alleviate depression.  However, the wrong pet can be an annoyance, a stressor, even an enemy.

Picking the right pet can be the difference between contentment and full-blown war.  So, to paraphrase a wiser man than myself, if you must choose a pet, choose wisely.  Here are a few factors to consider:

Lifestyle

Pets need to fit into your lifestyle with minimal disruption.  That means you’ll want to take your lifestyle into consideration when picking a pet.  If you’re an outdoorsy type and like to spend time out in the fresh air and sunshine, a dog might a good fit.  Many dogs need regular exercise and activity, and they’ll be happy to pal around with you outdoors.  If you’re more of the indoor type or if you’re out of the home a lot, you may not want to opt for a dog, as they need lots of attention, training, and interaction.  Cats, though, are a bit more independent and handle being separated from their owners better than dogs.  Choosing the animal that best fits into your lifestyle will be beneficial for both you and your pet.

Home Environment

If you like your house neat and tidy, having a free-roaming dog or a long-haired kitty may not be the best thing for your blood pressure.  Do you have limited space in which a pet can frolic?  You may want to steer clear of animals that need a lot of area to run and play.  In both these cases, you may be better off choosing a pet whose territory is confined to its living space, like a fish or guinea pig.

Children and Elderly

Small children and elderly folks are fragile and may not be suited to larger pets, which may accidentally injure them.  Kittens, puppies, and smaller dogs that can easily get underfoot may not be a good idea either.  You may find that older animals who a used to dealing with kids or have settled down a little are better for kids and older people.

Other Household Animals

If you already have animals in your house, you need to consider how they’ll react to having new additions hanging around.  While dogs and cats may enjoy having a new pal to play with, they may resent sharing your affections with other animals.  That can lead to aggression and general unpleasantness.  Make sure you take your current furry friend’s feelings into consideration.

Cost

Nothing worth having in life is free, and that includes pets.  You’ll need to pay for food, bedding, toys, medical bills, licenses, not to mention the potential cost that may crop up from pets destroying your furniture or landscaping.  If you’re unemployed or not making a lot of cash, you may want to go with a smaller, less costly pet, like a fish, or perhaps forego having a pet altogether.

Health Issues

Animals can pass diseases to the owners, but for the most part, the biggest health concern involved with getting a pet is allergies.  If you have family members with pet allergies, you may want to avoid furry animals that shed a lot.  Another option is to look for fuzzy companions that are hypoallergenic, although that may be a bit more costly.

As you can see, there is plenty to think about before you take the leap into pet ownership, but as long as you carefully consider the pros and cons and make the right pet choice, you’ll be able to make an affectionate buddy for life.

 

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