Best pets for the home

Choosing a pet for your home should never be done on a whim! Unrealistic ideas about pet care have led to severe overcrowding of animal shelters across America. I love animals, and have cared for each type of domestic pet imaginable while working in pet stores and volunteering with pet rescue groups. My advice is to be realistic with the time and money commitment that you are able to devote to a pet.

Caged animals are more work than most people expect. Cages must be cleaned and disinfected weekly, as well as the water and food dishes being cleaned daily. Reptiles, rodents, and birds each have different odors, activity levels, life spans, and temperature requirements that should be considered before deciding that you should bring one home. Veterinary bills over the lifetime of a large parrot or reptile for example could add up to considerably more than one would think. In the case of most reptiles, their size at time of purchase will be no where near their size in adulthood. Do you really have enough space in your home to accommodate an adult? Socialization of birds, reptiles, and rodents also carries a large time commitment. If you want your pet to be friendly with humans, you must spend time handling them. Usually this is no problem in the beginning, but when the excitement of the new pet wears thin, the handling and care tends to lose priority and aggressive, anti-social “pets” can result.

Basic home aquariums are very nice if they are not overdone. Using the proper equipment and mix of fish can result in a low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing extension of nature in your home. The initial set up generates the majority of cost to a home aquarium. Maintenance chemicals for water quality and food are relatively inexpensive once your system is up and running. It is much easier to establish and maintain a freshwater aquarium than a saltwater aquarium. Saltwater aquariums, while being vibrantly colored and varied are far more expensive and require special knowledge of water treatment and species requirements. Disease is more easily passed among saltwater aquarium species, and the fish cost much more money than most freshwater species.

The most common pets in America are dogs and cats. The decision to bring a dog or cat home should be based on owner personality, time and available space in the home. If you live in an apartment, travel a lot and don’t exercise much it would be a bad idea to bring home a Bull Mastiff! All joking aside, dogs and cats offer an amazing place in our lives, cats being more independent, and dogs needing much more exercise, and attention. Both dogs and cats will need a good deal of love, attention, and space. The money required for veterinary bills must be acknowledged in either case. Feeding and care of dogs and cats is a tremendous cost over the lifetime of the pet, and must be considered in the family budget to ensure your pet won’t be cast out into an animal shelter. In the case of dogs, there are many behaviors and personality traits that are specific to the breed. One can research these aspects before deciding on a particular breed or rescue mix. When at all possible consider animal rescue over purchasing from breeders for either dogs or cats!

Choose your pet wisely, and they will enrich your life. Choose poorly, and you just may end up facing the decision of how to get rid of the pet you thought you HAD TO HAVE!

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