The perfect pet. Before you buy a pet do your homework and be responsible. Don’t buy on impulse, be honest with yourself about the amount of time and work you are willing to put into a pet: for moms with kids: you are essentially adding another child to your family who will be with you for the about the next 10-15 years. Don’t expect your kids or your husband to take care of your pet. Read books, volunteer at a shelter and go to dog and cat shows to familiarize yourself with your options and responsibilities. Consider fostering a pet if you decide ownership is not right for you.
Profile your family
The 3 most important considerations are:
1. Personality Picking the Best Family Pet
From terriers to toys, Danes to Dobes, and Persians to rag dolls prospective pet buyers are faced with the bewildering choice of hundreds of pure breeds and a myriad of mixes. Today you can even choose from a gallery of “Designer Dogs” or even have your favorite pet cloned.
Buying a perfect pet and figuring out how to make all the right choices is tough especially if kids are concerned so let’s make it a little easier for you.
Best Family Pet Profile: Consider these factors- make a list
- Family members & Ages
- Initial Pet Choice family is interested in: Dog, Cat, Goldfish, and Iguana
- Other pets in the home: dogs, cats, ages, sexes
- Urban or Suburban
- Home dwelling description
- Yard: if any
- Lifestyle: active, medium, sedate
- Amount of time spent at home: rarely home, a moderate amount, home a lot
- Will pet live inside or out
- Grooming: is that a chore you mind, don’t mind
- What temperament suits you best: calm & low key, spirited & lively?
- Is this pet going to be a watchdog?
- Can you exercise with this pet: never, a little, an average amount, a lot?
- Will you travel with this pet?
- Will this pet be a working dog (for handicapped & special needs people) & if so what in particular is wanted (i.e.-hearing, Seeing Eye, companion, seizure detection, etc)
2. Perfect Pet for your Lifestyle
3. Perfect Pet for Home & Environment
Personality: Match the personality of the pet with the personality of the person getting the perfect pet: yourself or your child. When it comes to breed it’s the temperament of the breed that’s the most important especially when kids are concerned.
For large pure breed dogs: Labradors, golden retrievers, shelties, and collies are a consideration. Collies are good with quiet kids, however, they are high maintenance and need regular grooming. Dalmatians are better with adults; boxers are good with adults, and a mastiff might be great for a macho man.
Small pure breed dogs like pugs are great all-around dogs and they are low maintenance. Terriers are a nice choice for active young boys, but they like to dig so watch your garden. Cockers are better with adults. Mixed breed dogs offer many choices. Try to figure out the mix as that will help you determine their personality. You can get the best or the worst of both breeds.
For those looking for a cat, there are many choices. Maine coon’s have a personality like a dog. They are great for kids. On the other hand
Siamese are better with adults. They are very smart, finicky and temperamental. Sphinx has no hair. They are low maintenance and great for adults, but need to avoid the sun.
Lifestyle: Next try to match your lifestyle to that of the pet you choose
- Do you live in the city or country: an apartment or a house: small house or large house: cats and sedate small dogs like Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, and pugs are a good choice for apartments and small homes.
- Do you have a yard: how big/is it fenced-large dogs need more space than small dogs but aren’t always more active
- Your time spent at home: if you’re not home much-cats require less time than dogs and if you are always on the go-fish are great!-they still need love but take a lot less time
- What about your neighbors: barking dogs annoy neighbors
- Consider your climate-be sure your choice of breed is suitable to your climate: a Mexican hairless is not a good choice if you live in Alaska. A husky or a malamute might have a tough time in Florida. Pugs and breeds predisposed to breathing problems can be affected by high heat and humidity.
- Do you live near the water-are you a boater-labs love to swim, some dogs can’t swim at all
- Is anyone allergic to pets? Most cats are tough for people with allergies. The sphinx cat has no hair. Bishons and some poodles don’t shed much and might be a good choice. Allerpet C for cats, Allerpet D for dogs. These are topical sprays that reduce dander for people allergic to their pets.
- Exercise-do you have time to exercise. Do you enjoy exercise?
- Some small breeds like terriers and Jack Russel’s need twice as much exercise as a large breed like a Newfoundland
- 1 hour of exercise can increase your pet’s healthy lifespan by 2 days
- Do you travel –how much: pet sitter, boarding kennel to think about
- Grooming-long haired breeds need regular grooming at 6-8 week intervals versus a short-haired breed that you can bathe yourself every 8-12 weeks
- Supervision of pets with kids: children age 5 and younger need constant supervision with pets; kids age 8 and above- just keep an eye on them especially if you have mischievous boys
- Are there any other pets in your home: introductions, getting along?
- Divide up the chores: responsibilities-decide who’s going to be responsible for what: feeding, walking, games, vet care, etc
- Look for a nearby veterinarian and emergency facility
Cost Considerations: In general the bigger they are the more they cost to feed and maintain
A. Initial cost of buying a pet
- Shelter: $15-25.00
- Breeder: $250-1500+ the sky’s the limit
B. Pets Need quality care
- Food: commercial vs. homemade- homemade natural diets take more time & effort but are well worth it.
- Cat or small dog $100-300/year
- Medium dog $200-400/year
- Large dog $300-500/year
C. Veterinary care:
- Shots for the first year: $50-$200
- Remember today pets only need booster shots every 3 years-take titers to be sure
- Annual checkup $50-$200
Senior pets ages 7 and up, should get checked by your vet twice a year. Early detection & prompt intervention will help your pet enjoy a long healthy life. An ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure when it comes to your pet’s health.
D. Where to buy your Pet – The Final decision
Now is the big day you’ve made your choice-a of dog or a cat, decided on your breed and age and you’re ready to pick your perfect pet. Dog shows are a good place to see a variety of breeds. Avoid Pet Shops. They are a good place to look around, but puppy mills often drop their pets off at pet shops. Breeders are your best bet for pure breeds; be sure to see the parents. Get a written guarantee, AKC registration papers and be sure of their return policy. Shelters are a great place for mixed breeds and often also have various pure breeds of a variety of ages. Many are already spayed or neutered and have their shots. For puppies and kittens, generally, 8 weeks is the ideal age to adopt.
Tips to pick your perfect pet, a puppy or kitten?
First, just look at the entire litter, see how they act and how they react to you. Take to your heart the puppy or kitten who takes you to his. Don’t pick the shy pet huddled up a pet in the corner or the most aggressive one of the bunch look for that middle-of-the-road “Joe” whose eyes meet yours, that comes to you.
Do a visual inspection. They should be active and lively, look and smell clean, and not have any lumps or bumps. Their teeth should be white and they shouldn’t have bad breath or smelly ears, and their fur should shine. Next, watch them walk. They should move freely and not limp or have trouble getting up or down.
Finally,be sure to take your new pet to your vet within the first 2 weeks. For purebreds take them to your vet within the time frame the breeder requires.
Before you bring your new pet home, pet proof and prepare your home before the big day
Puppy and kitty proofing is essential. Look at your house from your pet’s point of view. Crawl around on your hands and knees if you need to and remove anything that might be a potential hazard such as dangling wires, tiny toys, rubber bands, string, antifreeze in the garage and cleaning agents. Get a pet gate and buy your supplies: food, a collar, and a leash. Avoid bringing a new pet home on a holiday. A nice quiet time is best for all.
Pets are truly lifelong companions- take your time making your choice and you’ll have a best friend forever!
Dr. Carol Osborne is an author and world-renowned integrative veterinarian of twenty-plus years. After graduating from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Carol completed a prestigious internship at the Columbus Zoo. Shortly afterward, she launched a very successful private practice and became the founder and director of the non-profit organization, the American Pet Institute. Dr. Carol offers traditional veterinary care for dogs and cats with a softer, natural touch. Her approach highlights the importance of nutrition and utilizing holistic avenues in combination with traditional treatments. Currently, she offers holistic therapies and traditional veterinary medical care for dogs and cats at the Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Call our Office Today at (866) 372-2765 or complete this Form to Email our Office.