Choosing the right
pet for your family can be an overwhelming decision with a ton of options and
factors to be taken into consideration. Are you a dog lover? Cat lover? Maybe
you are more of a small critter family? Some people prefer the ease of care
of a turtle or fish.
Assuming you are
looking for a domestic pet, we’ll focus on the popular domestic animals, rather
than “alternative” ones such as skunks.
– “man’s best friend” – are considered one of the most popular domestic pets.
Dog lovers will attest to this, but we also recognize that there are a lot of
reasons that people don’t choose dogs as a domestic pet some of which are they
can be expensive, require a lot of dedication and work or they are allergic
to them. Low-maintenance and dog are rarely associated with one another. If
you are considering a dog as a pet, we recommend viewing our article on “Choosing
the Right Dog” and doing extensive research and evaluation in choosing the right
dog breed for you lifestyle. With over 150 dog breeds to choose from (not including
the oh-so-lovable mutts available) can be exciting in itself. Before you start
buying your dog bowls and collars, it’s important to know what you are getting
The other very
popular domestic pets are cats.
There are over 50 different breeds of cats with various coat patterns and lengths,
as well as personality and characteristics. Calico, Himalayan, Persian, Tabby,
Siamese and Birman are some of the more popular breeds available. Cats lovers
will definitely argue, cats are full of “viewing entertainment” by their agility,
climbing ability, hunting and balancing. Some cats are considered “lap-cats”
while others decide when and where they will show their love. Male cats and
female cats can have totally different personality traits. Researching cat breeds
and male/female traits should play a big part in choosing the right cat for
you and your family. Some general rules to follow when choosing a cat is to
look at its coat to make sure it doesn’t have any large dark spots (to check
for skin issues and/or fleas), check that it has clear eyes and ears, check
for staining under the tail (to be sure it doesn’t have intestinal issues) and
have a veterinarian give it a check-up to be sure it’s healthy. Be sure you
are getting the right kitten or cat and that it’s going to be healthy for a
long and happy life.
critters such as hamsters,
gerbils, and mice
are also very popular domestic pets. Considered lower maintenance than a cat
or a dog, people choose them (amongst other things) because they love furry
critters, but allergies or lifestyle keep them from having a dog or a cat. Gerbils
are one of the easiest pets to care for which plays a large role in their popularity
and they tend to be frightened less easily than most other rodents such as hamsters
or guinea pigs. The key
to most of these rodents is to keep their cages clean and since rodents teeth
are constantly growing, it’s important to provide them with things to chew on
such as wood chips to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Also, since most rodent
type pets are good climbers and jumpers, it’s important to keep whatever enclosure
you decide to use secure to keep them in their home. If they escape or get scared,
speed is on their side and it may be tough to find them. In addition, they like
to burrow, so providing them with enough wood shavings is important, so that
they can completely cover themselves.
while considered small critters, require more work than a gerbil or hamster.
Rabbits need their nails and teeth regularly groomed. In addition, like rodents,
their teeth never really stop growing, so they too need to be provided wood
chips or the like to help keep their teeth shorter and, even then, they usually
need to be clipped. It’s also crucial to clean a rabbit’s cage at least once
a week in order to keep their wood shavings or fresh hay clean and to keep fleas
and parasites away which thrive on rabbits. Keeping a rabbit healthy and free
of disease is an important aspect of caring for them. Both rodents and rabbits
are very susceptible to heat stroke, so it’s also important to keep a close
eye on the conditions in which they live especially during the summer months.
are another popular choice for pets. Virtually allergen free and extremely low-maintenance,
they vary greatly in size, shape and color. Each type of lizard has adapted
to its environment and climate which plays a key role in the way they behave
or look. Owning a lizard comes with a new set of terms and vocabulary such as
basking (when they lie in the sun or bask in a light), chemosensory (a lizards
smell sense, which is extremely strong) and thermoregulation (its ability to
control its body temperature). Most lizards eat crickets, but a variety in its
diet including plants and supplements is also important and depends on whether
it is a herbivorous or omnivorous lizard. Always refer to your particular species
of lizard when feeding it. Lizards can have a variety of health issues such
as egg binding, cuts, skin problems and nutritional issues. Since lizards are
particularly good at hiding their illness, it’s important to keep a keen eye
on them and watch them for problems. Some more common pet lizards are anole,
geckos and iguanas.
are another popular reptile found as pets. Snakes can vary from inches to feet
in length. Caring for each species of snake can differ greatly, so it’s important
to read about your snake in order to provide optimal feeding, water, temperature,
humidity, light and housing – all of which are critical for the health of a
snake. Most snakes eat prey larger than themselves, which means they also don’t
have to eat very often and that can be very appealing characteristic for a pet.
Prey can vary greatly (depending on size) from mealworms and crickets to frogs
and small fish to mice and rats. Housing size, environment (branches/places
to hide) and temperature are critical in providing a healthy and thriving home
for a snake.
Millions of people
in the world also turn to birds
as pets. Most birds are highly intelligent and are loyal family members. Some
birds absolutely should not be pets such as falcons
or eagles, but parrots,
and cockatoos (to name
a few) make wonderful pets. Some birds have the ability to speak and others
have amazing signing abilities. Depending upon what you expect from your bird,
birds may or may not be the right choice for you. Birds require a lot of attention
and care, so they would definitely not be considered “low-maintenance”. While
some birds can be loud and rowdy, others are non-obtrusive and quiet, so take
into consideration your home, your lifestyle and other pets you may have. Like
any pet, choosing to have a bird as a pet is a big responsibility and not to
be taken lightly. Many birds also have a very long life span and can become
traumatized by being “transferred” from home to home – be ready to make the
commitment to the bird before choosing them as a pet.
We can’t depart
without acknowledging the fish.
There are tons of species of fish and all of them require specific care, so
it’s important to address feeding, water temperature and tank size by type.
Fish tanks whether it’s just a fish bowl or a tank require maintenance and cleaning.
Fish can be beautiful visual entertainment for a home and great alternative
for someone who doesn’t have the time to take a dog for a daily walk or provide
the attention and care that other pets require.
With over a million
skunk and pig
owners – we realize that there are a ton of pets we didn’t mention in this article,
but we hope you found some useful information in choosing the right pet for
you and your family. Good luck in your decision!