The best pet will differ among people and will depend on your circumstances. Some people might prefer dogs or cats, while others might prefer reptiles or fish. Ultimately, the best pet for someone is the one that they are most compatible with and that fits their lifestyle and personality the best. Listed below are the most common pet choices in the US (Source: https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-pet-ownership-and-insurance):
Pet Type Number [millions] Dog 69 Cat 45.3 Fish, fresh water 11.8 Bird 9.9 Small animal (hamster, guinea pig, mice, etc.) 6.2 Reptiles 5.7 Horse 3.5 Fish, saltwater 2.9
To find the best pet for your lifestyle and personality, consider the following points:
1 How Much Spare Time do You Have?
Depending on the pet, the amount of time required to provide a pet-friendly environment varies greatly. While some pets will take large chunks of spare time out of your day (dogs for instance), other pets do so to a lesser degree (cats, fish, hamsters, etc.). Generally speaking, the more intelligent a pet is, the more time you should devote so as to not to ignore the intellectual needs of your companion (yes, this applies to your significant other as well).
Dogs, for instance, require at least 1-2 hours of doggy time per day to establish and maintain a strong Owner/dog bond. Activities can include feeding, playtime, training, grooming, and exercise, spread throughout the day. Moreover, dogs shouldn’t spend more than eight consecutive hours per day alone. If you plan on getting a puppy, you can easily double this time commitment to account for essential training and play play time (see How to train a Dog in 4 easy Steps).
Cats, on the other hand, are more self sufficient and are quite capable to walk, entertain, and feed themselves. If you have an outdoor cat, providing food and cuddle time is often all that is required (say 1/2 hour per day). Indoor cats, on the other hand, require a larger time commitment to account for entertainment and keeping up with the cat toilet.
2 The Cost of Pet Ownership
In addition to the initial purchase price of a pet, cost for pet ownership quickly add up (see table below). Especially towards the end of a pets life, visits to the vet will become more frequent and hence, more expensive.
|Surgical Vet Visit(s)||$458||$201|
|Routine Vet Visit(s)||$242||$178|
|Food (regular and treats)||$368||$326|
If these numbers look scary to you, owning a dog or cat might not be the right choice for you. Instead, consider a smaller animal such as a pet hamster, guinea pig, or fish where annual costs come in at around ( $100 – $300).
3 What’s Your Neighborhood like?
The characteristics of your neighborhood come into play when you have a pet that likes to venture outside (cats and dogs, for the most part). A good neighborhood for an outdoor cat is one that is safe and has plenty of places to explore. The neighborhood should also have plenty of places for the cat to hide if it feels scared or threatened.
Potential dog owners, on the other hand, should consider the proximity of dog parks and trails, when contemplating the purchase of a 4 legged companion. Sure, you can always hop into your car and drive to a good spot. This scenario, however, becomes increasingly unlikely the further away you live from such a spot.
4 Animal Poop
Generally speaking, we are talking about dogs and cats here. For canines in particular, the bigger the dog, the larger the poop. Make no mistake, it takes a certain mind set to scoop up dog poop – especially, when it’s still warm and smelling like the dickens. Many would consider this task an act of love on their part–one that will be repaid every time one comes home and encounter pure excitement and love at the front door.
However, for even the most devoted pet owner, scooping up poop can at times be a burden–one which is directly proportional to the amount of poop that needs to be scooped. Therefore, choose wisely when it comes to choosing the size of your dog.
Cats, on the other hand, often use indoor cat toilets. However, the burden of poop removal still remains. Naturally, it falls to a human to clean and refresh this area as needed. While this task may be unpleasant, it can also have serious health implications for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as people with compromised immune systems (Toxoplasmosis).
5 The Best Pet for Kids?
Pets for children can be a great idea. They can teach children responsibility and how to care for another living creature as well as compassion for others. Pets also provide companionship and unconditional love, which can help promote feelings of belonging and safety.
On the other hand, some pets can be potentially dangerous to small children–dogs and cats in particular. If you decide on a getting a cat or dog with young children around, consider staying away from aggressive dog breeds (Pit Bulls or Rottweiler) and make sure to properly train and socialize your pet. Although this may seem obvious to most folks, never let your pet be in charge of watching a child. Even the most devoted of dogs and cats may be stressed by an infant’s or child’s crying or actions, leading to the potential for the animal to respond aggressively.
Finding the best pet for your home is not a trivial task and requires a lot of considerations. Being diligent and not buying a pet in the spur of a moment can save you a lot of trouble, both financially and emotionally. Thank you for doing your homework before committing on a pet!