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Finding the perfect pet friend to make your life complete depends on several different considerations. Choosing a domestic animal to cohabit with is not only a matter of the heart, but also a very practical matter of the mind. You must do some serious soul searching and take inventory of your life as is before even deciding to adopt a pet of any type. First you must determine whether you would be a good pet owner. Have you had pets before? Do you know how to take care of the type of pet you are considering? Taking care of a cat is different than taking care of a dog or bird or even a goldfish. Consider your current lifestyle. Will a pet fit in? Are you home enough to devote the time that a pet requires? Are there children or other pets in your home that must be considered? Can you afford the financial responsibility of taking care of a household pet? You must also consider who will care for your pet when you are traveling, whether for business or vacation.

If you have taken complete inventory of your life and are able to confidently affirm that you are ready to adopt a pet for life, the guide below will help steer you in the right direction in terms of finding the pet that will fit you best.

Dogs

Puppies and dogs alike require more time and attention than other types of pets. Even the most passive of the canine breed will need walks more than once a day as well as adequate playtime daily. In addition, dogs may require obedience training. Many people prefer dogs to other types of pets because they can be trained to protect the home or do tricks that amuse and impress humans. However, training your animal to do what you want takes a lot of skill and effort and does not (by any means) happen by itself. Taking care of a dog is a lot of work. In addition to feeding, walking (which means picking up after) and training, dogs must be bathed and groomed. This means that you will either find yourself struggling with a wiggly, breathless pup in the tub, or that you will shell out wads of cash for someone else to do your dirty work.

As much work as caring for a dog may be, many people find the trouble to be well worth it. Dogs are excellent companions and actually build a strong bond with their owners. Dogs of different breeds and varieties exhibit various different qualities and personality traits, making it pretty easy to find the perfect one for you (if you look long enough).

Cats

Cats are known to have more independent, discriminating personalities. Felines will largely take care of themselves, requiring little to no bathing or grooming on your part. Cats are extremely easy to house train and are generally very clean animals. Cats tend to be better pets for households where nobody is home for the majority of the day. Some cats, however, do require much attention and affection by way of petting and playing. Even with cats mostly taking care of themselves, there will be expenses to consider. Every cat will need its own food and water bowls as well as its own kitty litter box, litter, food, shots and more.

Birds

There are many varieties of birds that make good pets for humans. Some of these include parakeets, finches or canaries. More exotic breeds found in homes are cockatoos and parrots. Birds tend to be pretty low maintenance, but like other pets do require some care on your part. In addition to feeding and providing water, you will need to clean the bird s cage regularly and provide toys for its entertainment.

Other Pets

Other common pets in U.S. households include guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, iguanas, turtles, fish and others. With each of these types of pets it is very important to educate yourself on the care requirements and time/money commitments required.

Choosing Your Type of Pet

Whether you do all the reading and research on different types of pets or know from the very beginning (in your gut) which type of pet is right for you, you will eventually figure out if a cat, dog or other type of animal is right for you and your home. Once you have decided what you want to get, you must prepare you home. Go to your local library and look for a book on how to prepare your home for the type of pet you plan to get. You can also find online guides to help you prepare for your new family member. Once you have pet proofed your home and stocked up on all the comforts to make your new pet feel at home, you re ready to start looking!

Adopt a Pet

Though pets of all types can easily be found in pet stores, adopting a pet from your local animal shelter, an animal foster home or even from a family that can no longer keep its pet is best. By adopting rather than buying a pet, you will be providing a home for an animal that may otherwise run into an unfavorable fate. Also, adopting a pet in need of a home is very likely to be more affordable than buying a puppy or kitten from a pet store. Check you local SPCA Web site to see if animals available for adoption are listed. Many times these sites include pictures of the critters that are looking for homes.

Don t forget to reach out to your local community. Many times families have to give up pets due to circumstances that are out of their control. They may find themselves having to move into a home where animals are not allowed. Perhaps a member of the family has developed an uncontrollable allergy to the family pet. In these cases, families may be looking for good homes for the pets they have lovingly cared for up until now. By checking your local classifieds or bulletin boards at your pet supply store, you can connect with these families and possibly find your perfect pet!

Author : Jay Gaulard
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