Practical Considerations of Pet Ownership

What to Consider with Your New Pet

After you have decided to get a pet, there are various aspects you need to take into consideration before deciding what type to get. Of course you want to make sure that both you and the pet end up with are as happy as possible. But, the most important reason for such an added level of consideration is that you will literally be responsible for another being’s life. Think of it as an added level of security, ensuring that you will bring home the pet that will be a long-cherished addition to your household. Understanding what are the most common breeds can be helpful.

Common Pets

Common animal breeds might make it easier to find healthcare, for example. According to 2012 statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 43 million American households have dogs for pets; over 36 million choose cats; 3.7 million and 1.8 million have birds and horses, respectively. Maybe you want something that entails less work. Smaller pets that reside in cages or tanks will most likely require less upkeep.

Because they are easier to care for, smaller pets that reside in cages and tanks are ideal for first time pet owners, especially for children of parents who wish to help teach them about responsibility. Smaller pets, with populations consisting of fish: 7,738 (households/thousand); rabbits: 1408; ferrets: 334; hamsters: 877; Guinea pigs: 847; Gerbils: 234; and other rodents: 391. Turtles and other reptiles were of considerable numbers at 1320 and 1646, respectively. Animal Planet lists hermit crabs as the most popular small pet, with chinchillas, box turtles, Beta Fish, and ferrets rounding out the top five.

If you are set on a canine companion, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has their own list regarding popular breeds. It is not surprising that Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds top the list of commonly owned dog breeds. Golden Retrievers, French Bulldogs, and Bulldogs round out the top five most popular dog breeds.

Healthcare Costs

You also want to make sure you decide on a pet that will not break your budget (i.e., vet bills, food, etc.). The AVMA said that, as far as veterinary bills, dogs top the list at $227 annually per animal, $90 per cat, $14 per bird, and $133 per horse.

Some pets, quite frankly, are not ideal for some households due to their added healthcare costs, such as necessary vaccinations and diseases specific to the breed and/or species. Some are more likely to require surgery. For instance some bigger dogs are prone to bone issues later in life. Specifically, possible Labrador issues include exercise induced collapse (EIC), eye conditions, as well as hip and elbow dysplasia. Cats have their own set of maladies. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) mentions Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukemia Virus (FelV), and even High-rise syndrome (cats exiting high-rise occupancies, injuring or killing themselves) are special issues to consider.

Where to Go

You also need to decide from which place you want to get your pet. Animal shelters will be your best bet at finding healthy pets in terms of the animals being vaccinated (but it is also safe to double check and to get records). Also, be on the lookout for organizations in your area that help match pets to owners. Consider going to websites and other online puppy finder sources to find the perfect addition to your family. Be wary of puppy mills and breeding farms, as they might not have regulations in place to protect the animals.

Do not take the decision to get a pet lightly. Pets can provide people with companionship, get them out to improve their lives through exercise and human interaction, and even assist them in day-to-day tasks. Understanding what are the most common pet breeds is important. Matching potential pets to you and your family’s needs is also important. Take the time to consider everything about pet ownership to ensure that you have a pet with whom you can share a lifetime of companionship.

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