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Tips for Choosing the Right Pet For You

6 min read

By Chris Brown

So you decided to get yourself a pet. Good for you! Living with and caring for a pet truly is one of life’s simple pleasures. More than that, pet ownership is associated with a number of substantial health benefits too. On average, pet owners boast fewer heart attacks, report less loneliness, better psychological well-being, lower rates of depression, increased self-esteem, more physical activity, and fewer doctor visits.

Wanting a pet and knowing which type is right for you are two different things. Today, we’re going to walk you through everything that you should consider before choosing the right pet for you. Let’s go!

Avoid Impulse Buying

We’ve all wandered into a pet store on a whim and fallen in love with the furry little face staring back at you. But as hard as it is to walk away and seemingly abandon that helpless little creature, doing so is sometimes in their best interest too.

Owning a pet is a commitment, and can sometimes require significant lifestyle and financial changes. There is a lot to consider before buying or adopting a new pet, and you’d be doing yourself and your new pet a disservice if you don’t give yourself enough time to fully prepare.

Consider Your Money

As emotionally rewarding as they oftentimes can be, purchasing and caring for your own pet can be costly. The average annual cost of owning a dog starts at over $3000, and the average annual cost of a cat is hovering at around $2000. That’s a significant expense that needs to be addressed before any new pet is brought home.

That’s not to say that only wealthy people can afford pets. You may find that your budget has ample space for a hamster, a bird, or a fish. By being realistic about what kind of pet you can comfortably afford, you’re able to enjoy the experience of pet ownership without all the stress of food costs and vet bills.

Consider Your Time

Equally important as the financials, knowing how much time you can realistically devote to looking after a new pet may help narrow down your choices. Can you carve out a few hours every day to walk a dog or does your lifestyle limit the amount of time that you can commit? Maybe you travel frequently or work odd and inconsistent hours, which could rule out pets that only thrive on routines.

Adopting a pet will require a lifestyle shift without question, but by realistically considering your time and choosing the right pet accordingly, you can better match your desired commitment level to the needs of your potential pet.

Evaluate Your Home

Certain environmental factors need to be considered as well. Some pets do better in small, confined spaces while others need space to exercise and explore.

Neighbors may play a factor too. Noisy dog breeds in an apartment are an angry knock and complaint waiting to happen. Adventurous dogs in backyards that lack big fences can be too. It’s important to be considerate of everyone around you to ensure a positive relationship between you and your new pet.

Research Housing Limitations

If you rent or live in a condominium, the paperwork that you signed may have already made your choice for you. A lot of rental agreements include stipulations targeting pet ownership. These restrictions can sometimes limit the type of pet you’re permitted to bring into your home as well as the number of animals you can legally house.

Avoid legal trouble and eviction notices by familiarizing yourself with your contractual obligations before bringing anything with a tail home.

Know Yourself

Everyone is different, as is every pet type and breed. The more you understand what you want from a pet, the more refined your pet search becomes.

Envision and write down your ideal Saturday. Is it full of outdoor adventure or does it take place indoors? Think about the things that you love and choose a pet that compliments those hobbies. Better understanding your lifestyle can help foster a harmonious environment and strengthen your relationship with your newfound best friend.

Know Your Family

Introducing a new pet to your family for the very first time can be one of the most memorable moments of your life. But you still need to be ready for when that initial excitement inevitably wanes and the responsibility of taking care of a pet sets in.

Are your children old enough to care for a pet themselves? Is a new animal a safe decision? Do you already have pets that may take issue with all the new sights, sounds, and smells? Households raise pets together, so it’s important to be sure that everyone is ready and willing to take on that level of collective responsibility.

Look to the Future

Stability is important to certain kinds of pets, while others struggle with traveling and ever-changing environments. It’s impossible to outright predict the future, but taking a realistic look at what your future might hold can dramatically change your pet type decision.

The future may bring about a lot of changes for you, and you might prefer the flexibility of not having a pet at all. Again, purchasing or adopting a new pet comes with a level of responsibility that may sway future decisions.


Animal allergies can sometimes be debilitating and, depending on you and your family’s familiarity with the pet type may catch you completely off guard. There’s nothing worse than bringing home a new pet only to discover that a household member is indeed allergic.

It may be wise to consider the allergies of those in your social circle as well. You should by no means let your friend dictate which animal you decide to bring home, but you also can’t expect someone to endure insufferable allergy symptoms on the regular either.

Ask a Friend

Speaking of friends, call one that’s owned a similar pet in the past and ask them as many questions as you can think of. There’s only so much learning you can do from reading internet blogs and watching online introductory tutorials. Communicating with a person that you trust should help better highlight the reality of the day-to-day.

Be Patient

Just because you’ve read this list and decided on a pet type doesn’t mean that you need to rush out and get one right this instant. Selecting the right pet can take quite a bit of time these days. So be patient and wait for the right opportunity so that you can avoid making a rushed and wrong decision.

Remember, the decision to bring home a new pet can impact the next 10-plus years of your life. Decisions of that magnitude must be done right, and doing it right may require patience.

The Takeaway

You made it to the end of this article, which already illustrated that you’ve taken at least a few minutes between seeing a new animal and deciding to take it home. A wise choice. Bringing home a new pet can be an incredible responsibility. One that may follow you both literally and figuratively for many years to come.

And you may still not know whether you’d prefer a cat, dog, reptile, or fish. But hopefully, after today, your search for the optimal pet for you and your family has a little more direction.

Writer, General Health

Chris is a Canadian who loves ice-hockey, espresso, and really long books. He’s an early riser that relies on a combination of meditation, yoga, indoor cycling, and long walks to keep fit. Chris is also a multi-platform content creator with a portfolio that includes terrestrial radio, television, the written word, and YouTube. For more content, check out his podcast, “Black Sheep Radio,” or follow @notTHATcb on Twitter and Instagram

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