What pet is right for me? At an early age, we all dream of having a pet. Such fantasies would include anything from owning a, Shetland pony, bunny, puppy to even a chimpanzee. As a child if we were lucky, our parents would get us ‘parental approved’ pets such as a bird, rabbit, guinea pig, or fish. It may not have been that unicorn or exotic lizard that we desired but heck, we were more than happy to call it our beloved pet. As we grew older our thoughts and needs changed and so did our idea of pets. We think that it would be ultra-cool to own a parrot, ferret or chinchilla, or dog. Once that thought turned into reality and we actually got our self that pet that we always longed for, we realized that pets can be a lot of work. Something that we probably knew about but didn’t think it was necessary to factor in to our dream. Choosing a pet that is right for your personality and lifestyle will make your dream better than you ever thought imaginable. The following is some criteria to contemplate what pet is right for me.

Cleaning After a Pet

How often would I need to clean my pet’s living space, cage, tank, environment, bed, toys and accessories? For cat owners, a cat’s litter box must be changed daily to every other day, depending on how many cats that you own. A fish’s tank is cleaned every month whereas a fish bowl with no filtration is cleaned once a week. On top of keeping your pet’s living necessities clean, you may also need to keep your house clean from scraps of food that could endanger your pet’s health. Chocolate is known to be poisonous to dogs and cats when ingested.

Pet Care

This encompasses everything from feeding, exercise, grooming, providing shelter and training, health, vaccinations, spaying/neutering and licensing. All pets need and require this but will vary in cost, time and energy depending on the type of pet that you end up choosing.

Pet Affordability

What is the cost of pet maintenance, such as food/treats, living necessities, i.e. cage, aquarium, bedding for guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, grooming equipment., e.g. clippers, combs, sprays?. Cats and dogs when they are young typically go to the vet once a year for their annual, and bi-yearly when they get older. Vaccinations are a must, to maintain their health and some immunizations are mandatory by law. When our pets get sick, we can try natural remedies but in the end a vet visit is the best course of action to rectify their illness. Of course, this all costs money.

Pet Life Expectancy

Depending on the length of time you want to dedicate to a pet, different animals have varying life spans. People who want to have their pets around for a long time because they want a companion, someone to bond and play with, will most probably pick a cat of dog or parrot. Average cats and dog live 12-15 years, some live longer. Small parrots live for 8-14 years. Large parrots live for 35-60 years of age. Basically, the bigger the bird species, the longer they will live. If wanting a pet that is low maintenance, but at times, not necessarily low responsibility, the following species would be ideal: Goldfish can live for up to 6 years, given normal care. However, they can live 10-25 years or longer if given proper care. Guinea pigs 5-8 yrs. Rats 4-6 years, Mice, Hamsters, Gerbils 2-3 yrs.

Possible Pet Allergies

Pets with fur and feathers will give off a pet allergen called dander. Dander is tiny, or microscopic particles of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents and bird species. These particles can cause reactions such as sneezing, itchy, watering eyes, asthma, hives, (just to name a few) to people who are allergic to it. Also, additional allergies can be found in an animal’s saliva, urine and feces if not handled in a timely manner. That is, if urine on the bedding of a Guinea pigs cage is not changed on a regular basis, it can cause an allergic reaction in someone. Cats are known to have the most dander out of all pets. Yet, people who are allergic to cats can still live in harmony with them, depending on the severity of their allergies and exercising precautionary measures on how to comfortably take care of them. Therefore knowing if you are allergic to certain pets and their by-products, and taking precautions on what you can do to eliminate or lessen the possible allergy, is one step in determining what pet is right for me.