Getting a new pet is a super exciting time! There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a new pet; it should never be done on a whim. The first thing to consider is the type of pet you want. Do you consider yourself a cat person? Dog-parent? Or do you want something that takes up a little less time and energy like a fish or a hamster? You need to take your lifestyle into consideration when deciding what pet is right for you.
Usually, cats and pocket-pets (rodents, fish, etc) require less time and energy then a dog, so if you have a busy lifestyle that takes you away from home often you may want to consider this. The decision doesn’t end with species however; there’s still lots to think about!
Many people think that choosing a breed of dog is just about how they look; big or small, long or short hair, and coat colour. But different breeds have different needs. You should try to find a breed that matches your lifestyle.
Something else to think about when considering a working breed is what behaviours come “pre-programmed”. Great Pyrenees tend to exhibit guarding behaviours and border collies like to chase or “herd” moving objects. Most breeds have unique “quirks” and while these behaviours aren’t necessarily a negative thing, they are something you need to consider when choosing your dog.
Finally, as with everything else, finances have to factor into your decision on a new pet. The initial cost of the pet, whether it is purchasing the pet from a reputable breeder or adopting from a shelter or rescue is only the beginning of your pets’ monetary needs. Good nutrition, veterinary care, training etc all have costs associated with them that need to be budgeted for. In most cases, the larger the dog, the bigger the bills when it comes to food and medications. Pet insurance can help with veterinary care, but prices can vary depending on breed.
No matter which pet you choose, you are committing to caring for that pet throughout their lifetime. What we give them is far outweighed by the unconditional love and devotion we get in return.
Dr. Juanita Ashton, BSc, DVM, ACDBC-IAABC is a certified Canine Behavioural Consultant, and one of the owners of the Elmsdale Animal Hospital