How to choose the right pet

Health care questions and answers about puppies and dogs

Choosing The Right Pet
Compatibility For Life

Important points to consider before you select a new pet!
The key word to remember is COMPATIBILITY. 
Will your new pet’s innate physical and personality makeup be compatible
with your own life style and needs?  Select a pet based not on whim nor fad but rather on compatibility with who you are and where you live.  Plan with the idea in mind that this will be a long term commitment on your part.

Health care questions and answers about cats and kittens

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If your pet is sick, call your local veterinarian immediately!

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 I finally have time to get a dog... something I've looked forward to for years.  I've never owned one before so I wonder how to choose the right one.
     I do live in the city so I suppose a small breed would be best.  Maybe a cat would be best; I guess I need some direction with this decision.

Sometimes choosing a dog is the perfect match.

Compatibility... is shows when a pet and owner understand and care for each other.  The human-animal bond happen spontaneously if compatibility is present.


Answer:   choose a pet... how to... what is best pet... 
It sounds like you have been considering getting a new pet for a long time, and now's the time to choose one.  Below are several key points to really think over before you buy or adopt a pet of any kind.  Understand... before you get a pet... that your life style will change!  Owning a pet is a full time responsibility, it requires a commitment to that dog, cat, bird, reptile or fish for their entire life span.  If you leave home or go on a vacation someone has to provide daily observation and care for your pet.

     Compatibility is the key word!  Your chosen pet should fit into your life style and become a part of your day.  If you expect otherwise, your relationship with the pet will not be optima.  For example, owning a large working breed of dog such as an Alaskan Malamute might not be compatible with living in a high rise in San Francisco.  A vocal parrot may not be compatible with neighborly condominium living.  Owning an Iguana while living in a cold climate may not be best for the reptile pet.  Some focus points follow:
 Pick the right species.  Dog, cat, fish, pocket pet, etc.  Remember reptiles must have very specific environments, diets, and health care and should never pose a danger to someone unfamiliar with reptiles.
   Pick the right breed.  For example, Retrievers, Terriers, or Spaniels require more activity than the house pet breeds such as a Chihuahua or Bichon Frise.
   Select the appropriate age… adult and trained (or with established habits good/bad), or a puppy or kitten you can train yourself.

Analyze the following tips about choosing a pet:
   Understand the expected life span of the pet (parrots +30 years; dogs and cats +16 years; ferret 5-6 years, hamsters about 2 years.
   Do you have the free time to interact with the pet every day
   Can you comfortably pay for high quality food?
   Will veterinary care costs be a burden for you?
   Can you utilize a boarding facility or pet sitter when you are away.
   Do you know the idiosyncrasies of the type of pet you are going to acquire.
   Will your pet will be compatible with neighborhood pets, people and wildlife?


Doctor's Notes
efore You Buy...
Before to obtain a new pet be sure to consider if separation anxiety is part of the dogs psychological makeup.  Especially when adopting/obtaining an adult dog you need to somehow evaluate for how contented the new pet will be when left alone.

  You will need to put in some time making sure the pet's environment is safe, clean and comfortable.  For example, birds are very intolerant to temperature changes; some dogs are insecure or destructive when left alone, cats are climbers and need a cat friendly environment.

High quality (more expensive) pet food is very important to the health of any pet.  Buy the cheapest "food" and you will be doing a disservice to your pet.

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Spay and neuter clinics are overwhelmed by efforts to curb the pet population problem. Consider adopting a homeless dog or cat, unwanted and abandoned pets fill the shelters all over the USA. "Exotic" pets such as this parrot require occasional veterinary care This pet white rat is sick and needs medical attention.
Your pets should be compatible
with your lifestyle.
Special knowledge and husbandry skills are mandatory for keeping reptiles such as this Iguana. Snakes are the choice of many pet owners and require special understanding for proper care. Your pet should be people friendly otherwise your relationship with the pet, and other people, will suffer.

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I will be getting a new puppy and a kitten and wonder about adopting the new pets from a shelter. I've heard of lots of people rescuing a pet, is this a good idea or should I go through a dog and cat breeder to get the best quality pet?

Call your local veterinarian first!

Your local veterinarian is your best source for answers to questions about your dog or cat's unique health issues.


Many people do adopt pets with behavioral or physical problems and accept the arduous, but very rewarding, task of coaxing them back to normal parameters.  We should applaud their very dedicated work.

Answer:   pet rescue... adoptions... animal shelters
 If you aren't looking for a specific breed of dog or cat and aren't goig to show them, who cares what the pedigree is?  If you are looking for a compatible companion to share your life with, a humane society or animal shelter pet can be an excellent resource for you.
     Which particular animal to pick depends totally on the unique personality of each pet... there are no two animals that are identical.  This holds true for dogs, cats, horses, reptiles, rabbits, etc.  Whether you rescue a pet from an animal care facility or obtain one from an experienced breeder the personality and compatibility issues will be unique to the animal.  You should select a puppy or kitten displaying personality traits you expect from it as an adult. In rescued or adopted adult pets their personality traits are more firmly established so, in general, what you see is what you get.  Just be sure to look for the traits you want in your choice of dog or cat... such as agreeable, contented to be held and handled, not too hyperactive, not shy or defensive.

   Take a good look at your local animal shelter or humane society for a potential "rescue pet".  Many pet owners have stated the very best dog or cat they ever had was one they rescued.  Somehow the blending of a rescued pet into its new home generates a special quality to the human-animal bond.  I didn't realize fully how true that statement can be... until one day a little Chihuahua and I crossed paths.  She had been abandoned in an overnight drop box at a nearby animal shelter.  The animal services officer brought her to me and lucky for the pup I was on duty that day at the main county animal services clinic.
     I looked up from a patient when I heard the officer say" Hey, Doc, look at this!" 
He held a tiny brown pup with donkey ears and big eyes that acted disoriented and limped on her right front leg.  Ultimately we rescued each other and Cricket E. Wicket found a home for life with Dr. Dunn!  Read Cricket's personal account of what happened that saved her from being euthanized because "nobody is going to adopt this one".                 [Cricket's Story]

Doctor's Notes
Adopted Dogs...
 Many adult dogs abandoned or surrendered to a shelter and need adoption are there because of unresolved behavior issues.  The original owners may not have been successful at correcting such issues as separation anxiety, excessive barking, fear biting, aggression toward other animals, etc.

Cricket E. Wicket!  See her Facebook page at

I rescued this little rascal when she was 4 months old, just before she was to be euthanized due to a correctible orthopedic problem and an erroneous supposition of a neurological problem.  (She apparently was sedated by whomever abandoned her in a night depository box.)

Learn much more about selecting the
 right pet at the ASPCA website

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