When adopting a pet, you have many options, and choosing the right one is important to ensure they match your family’s lifestyle. Our team at The Pet Resort at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center wants to help you determine which pet will best suit your family.

Is a dog the right pet for your family?

Dogs are a popular pet choice, and they can be wonderful companions. However, they do require a significant amount of time, attention, and responsibility, which you should definitely consider before committing to adopting a dog. In addition, dogs come in many different sizes, temperaments, and activity levels, so if you have decided a dog is right for your family, your next task is to choose the right breed.

  • Small versus large breeds — The dog’s size is a major consideration, and you should research the breed’s expected adult size before making a decision. Dogs range in size from small-breed dogs (i.e., less than 22 pounds), to giant-breed dogs (i.e., about 100 pounds). Small-breed dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds, and, obviously, larger breeds need more space than small-breed dogs. For instance, a Great Dane is probably not your best choice if you live in a small apartment. Larger breeds also typically need more exercise than small-breed dogs, and are better suited to people who have an active lifestyle.
  • Active versus sedentary breeds — All dogs need exercise to remain fit and healthy, but some dogs require more physical activity than others. Therefore, consider your family’s activity level. Do you want to take your dog jogging? Does your family enjoy hiking? If so, Labrador retrievers, Australian shepherds, and weimaraners are good choices for your family. If you prefer to watch television or read in your down time, bulldogs, basset hounds, and shih tzus are a better choice.
  • Old versus young dogs — Another consideration is the dog’s age. Puppies are cute and fun, but they require a lot of work. You may want to consider adopting an older dog if you have young children or senior citizens in your home, because older dogs are typically more calm, and better trained.

Is a cat the right pet for your family?

Cats are relatively low maintenance pets compared with dogs, but they still require care and attention. While they don’t need to be walked multiple times a day, cats do need at least 10 to 15 minutes of playtime twice a day, but they are good pet choices for families who have busy schedules. They also don’t require much space. When choosing a cat, factors to consider include:

  • Short hair versus long hair — Long haired cats can have beautiful coats, but they require daily brushing to keep their fur from matting. All haired cats shed, so be ready to deal with cat hair unless you choose a hairless breed.
  • Pedigree versus non-pedigree — Most cats are domestic shorthair or longhair cats, with no particular pedigree, and range in size, color, and hair coat length. Pedigree cats, who are bred specifically to exhibit particular physical characteristics, can be expensive, and often require extra grooming. Some cat breeds are also predisposed to inherited health issues. 

Is a bird the right pet for your family?

Birds are beautiful, interactive pets who can be extremely entertaining, but most are social creatures, and require many hours a day outside their cages. Unless you have time to spend handling them daily, they will not be properly socialized, and can develop unwanted behaviors, such as feather picking, screaming, or biting. Other factors to consider include:

  • Cage — A suitable bird cage can take up a large amount of space, and can be expensive.
  • Noise — Most birds are extremely noisy, especially at dawn and dusk. Some birds can be trained to minimize their vocalization, but you can’t completely eliminate their noise. This is especially relevant if you have nearby neighbors.
  • Longevity — Birds, especially large birds, can live for many years. Parrots can live up to 60 years, and cockatiels can live 20 to 30 years, meaning they could potentially outlive you, and you will need to consider who would care for them in that event.

Is a reptile the best pet for my family?

Reptiles are fairly low maintenance pets who don’t have fur, which is a plus for people who suffer from allergies. They do require ongoing habitat care, and some need intensive daily attention. They also have specific light, heat, and humidity requirements that must be closely monitored, to prevent illness and injury. Other considerations include:

  • Handling — Depending on your family’s preferences, you will need to research which reptiles prefer handling, and which like being left alone. For example, bearded dragons tend to appreciate regular handling, whereas chameleons prefer solitude.
  • Feeding — Many reptiles are omnivores or carnivores and need a diet of other living critters, such as waxworms, crickets, and rodents. Ensure you are comfortable feeding your new pet their required diet.
  • Habitat — Research habitat size requirements for the adult reptile species you are considering, to ensure your home will accommodate the size of their enclosure.

When you choose the right pet for your family, they become a new family member, offering companionship and love. Once you’ve decided on the perfect pet, contact our team at The Pet Resort at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center, so we can provide all their boarding, grooming, and veterinary care needs.