Who says you cannot pick your family. You can when you decide to choose a pet. When you do so, do so wisely. So often, I meet people who have gotten a pet and it turns out to be a very bad experience for them.

It is very important when choosing a pet to do some research about that breed and see if they are compatible to your personality and lifestyle. Do not get a high-energy dog if you are a couch potato. Having cats may be a better fit if you are not home much, but like the companionship when you are.

Choosing Your Pet

Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

1. What size of pet would I like?
Pets range from 1 lb. on up to 150+. If you have children, you may want a medium size pet that they can play with, but not injured.

2. What kind of energy level do I want from your pet?
Look at your lifestyle, if you have children, other pets, etc. to determine what kind of energy level you want to bring into your home. Remember, almost any dog you bring into your home will require some exercise.

3. What are the pet’s exercise requirements or are they a working dog?
If they require a large amount of exercise and/or in need of a job and that is not provided for them, they can become a very difficult dog to handle.

4. How do they interact with other pets and children?
You do not want to bring a cat or dog into your home if you have children or other pets and the new pet does not play well with others.

5. How much time do you want to spend training on your pet?
Some pets are easier to train then others. In general, small dogs can be harder to potty train. Some breeds can be hard to live with if not trained well. It seems to me a lot of times that our pets are good at training us.

6. Will my dog need a lot of grooming?
Sometimes when we are picking out a dog, we overlook the amount of brushing or grooming that will be required. A longhaired dog may need brushing daily to avoid matting. Mats can be painful for your pet and will require a groomer or vet to shave them as to avoid causing additional pain to your pet.

7. Will my pet live in the house or outside?
Make sure you get a breed that is weather appropriate for the lifestyle of the pet. If you live in the NY, do not get a pet that has short hair without an undercoat if you plan on keeping him outside during the winter months.

8. How much socialization will my pet get?
Remember dogs are pack animals and usually don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. Even cats will get lonely if they don’t have enough interaction with people or other pets. If you are going to leave your pet alone for long periods of time, consider getting them another pet to interact with.