Choosing the Right Kind of Pet

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Owning a pet is a tremendous responsibility – a responsibility you’ve never had. But now you want to adopt a furry friend to snuggle against as you watch TV or read a good book. 

Read these tips to help you choose the perfect pet and learn what it needs to feel right at home.

Dog or Cat

Choosing between a dog and cat will depend on several factors. Dogs require lots of time and energy. They require frequent grooming, bathing and walks. You’ll need to carve out time to play with your dog too. If you go out of town,  you’ll need to pay for a dog sitter or board him at a kennel. This can be expensive. On the other hand, if you’re outdoorsy and love to be active, a dog will be the perfect pet; he’ll love joining you for a morning jog.

Do you like to stay inside and read a good book? You’ll enjoy having a cat. Cats adore sleeping and curling up beside you on a pillow. They don’t require excessive amounts of affection and attention because they are fiercely independent. And when they want to play, you won’t need to do too much. Your cat will run and jump if you throw it a cat toy.

What Size Is Your Home?

The type of pet you get depends on the size of your home. Apartment dwellers may wish to have a small pet like a cat or one of the smaller dog breeds. But you should pay attention to the activity level of your prospective small dog. Dogs with a surplus of energy may not be ideal apartment dwellers. They’ll require lots of exercise and walks outdoors. Of course,  cats are masters at apartment dwelling. Bigger dogs may tolerate an apartment, but you’ll need to take it out to exercise.

Spacious or Tiny Yard

If you live in a house, consider your yard. Do you have a spacious, fenced yard? It’s the perfect yard for any size dog. Your new dog will enjoy exploring it. Cats may like to explore the yard too, but that’s probably not the best idea. They’ll run into conflicts with other animals and people who hate felines. They can get lost, hit by a car or drown in a swimming pool. Instead, train them to walk with you on a harness and leash. You can also try a cat stroller or cat enclosure.


Some people sneeze as soon as they lay eyes on a cat. Other people are allergic to dogs. Don’t be fooled by people who say that some dogs and cats are hypoallergenic because they don’t shed as much as other breeds. Allergy sufferers are affected by pet dander and saliva, not just shedding hair. If you’re determined to get a dog, the dogs less likely to trigger allergies are dogs like Bichon Frise and Poodles and Schnauzers. If your heart is set on owning a feline, choose a breed like the Burmese, Siamese or Russian Blue.

Preparing Your Home for a New Pet

When you prepare for your pet, thoroughly pet-proof the rooms. Purchase baby gates to keep it out of the areas where they’re not allowed. Tape electrical cords in case your pet is a chewer. If you’re going to get a cat, glue down vases so they won’t get knocked over if the cat climbs on top of them. And if you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to get a preparedness plan in place in case of an emergency (house fire, natural disaster, etc.). Be sure to include emergency contacts and pet-friendly hotels should you need to stay somewhere overnight.

Shop for feeding bowls, crates, pet beds, food, leashes and toys. If you’re getting a cat, you definitely don’t want to forget to purchase a litter box! Grooming is an important part of pet care too, so in addition to the traditional pet shampoo, consider purchasing a bath-less cleaning kit and de-shedding tool such as the ones offered by Total Pet Spa. New pets are prone to exploration, and with that curiosity comes a potential mess. Constant bathing is harsh on your pet’s skin, but a quick wipe down with a cleaning pad and a thorough brushing will leave them looking, feeling, and smelling good as new.

Elderly Pets

Elderly pets require many of the same things that younger pets need. But if you adopt an older dog or cat, remember that they aren’t as spry as their younger counterparts. Older pets may suffer from arthritis or other medical conditions. Cats may even  experience feline dementia. Keep these factors in mind while welcoming an elderly pet to your family.

Home Sweet Home

If possible, take a few days off from work to help your pet settle into their new digs. This will make the bonding process go more smoothly. Show your pet its bed or crate. Make sure the pet knows where the food and water bowls are located. If it’s a cat, let it see its new litterbox. Upon entering the house give the cat a small amount of food and water. You don’t want the cat to overeat because of stress and end up getting sick.

If you’re a first-time pet owner, choosing a pet is an important decision. It’s important to consider your personality, time available and lifestyle. Whether you select a dog or a cat, shower it with love and attention. Give it the care it needs, and it will love you right back.

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