Choosing A Pet For Your Family

Choosing a pet to join your family is an exciting time for everyone, but you should make sure you're not swept up in the excitement and select a pet that is not compatible with you, your family and your environment. All breeds of dogs (and cats) have different needs, temperaments and behaviors. Many new pets are abandoned or returned because they're "bad". In many of these cases, the "bad" behavior is exactly what their breed should be expected to do (Terriers dig, Beagles follow scents, Jack Russels are very active, most dogs shed.) In these cases, some family education beforehand could prevent adopting a "bad" pet.

  • Check your breed's habits. Some breeds dig. Some herd. Some bark. Some need lots of exercise. Know in advance what to expect from your new pet, and he (or she) will integrate into your family that much more easily. Choose a breed that matches your needs and your ability to care for your new pet.
  • Check your breed's temperament. Some breeds don’t especially like small children or being poked or prodded. Some will tolerate almost anything. Make sure the temperament is a match for your household, and be prepared to take your new pet for training.
  • Check your breed's size. This is especially important when adopting a puppy or kitten. The pet may be small today, and not so small tomorrow!
  • Check your home. Is your residence "pet-safe"? Are there restrictions on what types or sizes of pets you may have? Do you have small children? Do you have someone to watch over your new family member while you're away?
  • Check your nose. Do you or does someone in your home have allergies? Some breeds are more hypoallergenic than others. Some breeds shed year-round, which can cause allergy problems.
  • Check your wallet. A new pet is not a one-time expense. There is care, feeding, training and other costs to consider. Make sure you and your family are committed to keeping your new pet for his or her lifetime.

A pet is a wonderful addition to your family. Make sure your new pet is a good fit with your family, as well.