Commitment. Pets are a 10+ year commitment in most cases. Be sure you are able to make that kind of commitment before adding to your family.
Age. This is not a limiting factor in whether or not you should get a puppy or kitten, but it can help you decide which breed may be best suited for you or the loved one for which you are getting the pet. A young adult who is full of energy could probably handle a hyperactive Labrador retriever, German shorthair pointer, or another large-breed dog whereas an elderly person who wants companionship should look into potentially a smaller-breed with, generally, less energy such as a shih tzu, Yorkshire terrier, toy poodle, etc. As far as kittens are concerned, breeds don’t always determine behavior. Kittens tend to develop their own personality and energy level based on their surroundings.
Free Time. Back to the young adult, sometimes when young adults are starting a career and don’t have a lot of free time, a hyperactive puppy isn’t the best idea. When puppies get bored, they can become destructive. In these cases, kittens, lower energy puppies, or adopting a middle-aged pet is a better option. However, a person who is retired and has a lot of free time could handle a pet that requires more attention.
Living Arrangements. Understanding the living conditions is important in selecting a pet. Do you live in an apartment? A house in town? A house on a farm? Apartment living may not be conducive to having a hyperactive puppy, but may be perfect for a kitten or small breed puppy, whereas a farm may not be conducive to a small breed puppy, but may be perfect for a hyperactive border collie. Are there children in the household? Children can make a big difference. Some breeds of dogs aren’t a right fit for children. It is important to do your research about each breed you are contemplating before making a decision.
Financial State. Sadly, this does play a role when making a decision to add a pet to your family. Pets can be expensive on a monthly basis for preventative care. If finances are tight, then a large breed dog that requires the highest dose of every medication (including monthly heartworm and flea/tick preventions) can be more expensive than a small breed dog or cat who takes less of those medications. We will discuss the cost of vaccinations and annual care in a future post.
Adding a pet to your family is one of the best decisions someone can make, but also a very important one. We hope you take the jump in adding a member to your family this holiday season!