If you would like a pet that is going to give you attention, then an independent cat might not be your best choice. So, if you are deciding on getting a pet soon and don’t quite know which to choose, continue reading this week’s top 10. Hopefully it will help you in deciding which pet suites you.

To make things a bit easier as well as fun, try these tests online and see which pet suites your personality. I took both tests by the way, and they both concurred that I am a cat person (which I whole heartedly agree with). http://quibblo.com/quiz/ny12Rq/What-type-of-pet-suits-you

1. Do you want an interactive pet?

Some pets, like dogs, are great companions and are often very interactive with their owners. If that is what you want, then the dog is definitely your best friend. Birds are also quite interactive as well. But if you just want you’re pet to be there for the sake of having another living being in your home, then a cat, fish or rodent is your better bet. Also see tip 3.

2. How active do you want your pet to be?

Dogs are quite active animals, depending on the type of dog you buy as well as some have more energy than others. Dogs are also great to have if you have an active lifestyle as far as exercise is concerned or just want to loose weight as well. Taking them for regular walks, as they need exercise as well, will help them to burn off some of that energy as well as help you burn off a few kilos. Rodents, cats, fish and tortoises are basically just there for you to take car of. Well, not cat’s as much as they are quite independent.

3. How much time and energy do you have to spend with your pet?

If you spend most of your time in the office, away on business trips, behind the computer or out partying, then getting a high maintenance pet is not for you. By high maintenance I mean financially as well as spending physical time with your pet. Dogs are constantly looking for love, attention and affection. But if you are not home most of the time or will not have much time to spend with the animal, rather get an independent creature like a cat or a tortoise that can basically fend for him/herself while roaming around in your garden.

4. What are your expenses with regards to a pet?

Some pets are quite high maintenance financially. Besides taking them to the vet for regular check ups, some animals need to be taken to the parlor, they require large amounts of food and their living area needs to be taken car of. With reference to the latter, fish and caged animals as well as dogs and cats are referred to here. If you have a fish, buying a tank is quit expensive. You also have to decide on the type/size of tank you need to buy, the equipment needed inside the tank to maintain cleanliness and oxygen levels in the tank as well as the type of fish food required. There is also the choice of salt water and fresh water fish. Remember Deuce Bigalow? He had to spend lots of time, energy and needed quite a lot of now-how to take care of someone else’s exotic fish. Caged animals like hamsters or mice need special equipment for their cages as well. Dogs also need a kennel if it is to stay outside and cats litter boxes, scratching poles and the likes. See tips 7 and 8 for further information.

5. Is the pet for you, a family member?

If the pet is for you, then these tips should be a good guidance. If, however, the pet is for a family member like a child, you should consider the tips mentioned here but also consider the age of the child you are buying the pet for. The animal should be age appropriate for the child and if the child is a bit older, whether they have the time, energy and patience to look after another living creature. You could also consider starting your child off with a virtual pet and see how they cope with that.

6. How much space do you have in your home?

If you buy a dog, for example, consider how big your living area is and how much room the dog will need. Big dogs like Dalmatians and Labradors for example would need large spaces to run around in and would be more suited in a home with a large yard. If you live in an apartment of flat, smaller dogs like Maltese poodles are more suited for it. Fish, caged rodents and cats are also more suitable for smaller living areas.

7. Prepare yourself

Do as much research as possible about the type of pet that you would like to have. You can ask your local vet or SPCA and consult your library for useful information about different kinds of animals. If you want to buy a specific dog, for example, find out more about it like what environment if should be in, the type of food it should eat, how often you need to feed or walk it and its personality traits. Also find out where your nearest vet is and pop inside to find out how efficient they are and whether you will be comfortable with them dealing with your pet. Thinking about having a pet and actually having it living with you is completely different. Know that it will take some time and adjustment for both of you.

8. Prepare your home.

Once you have made a choice on the type of pet you would like to purchase, prepare your home like buying toys for the pet, water and food bowl as well as a place you would like the animal to sleep of live in.

9. Choosing a name

. I have always wanted to have a cat called Miss Chievous. I know that it would probably be my own fault if the cat actually turns out to be that way, but I think it’s a cute name. Find a name that suite your pet. Look at their personality. See if they remind you of a person, song or place. You will be amazed at the names people come up with. Dogs and cats are more likely to come when you call them on their names, so call them something that is easy as well as pleasant to hear (you don’t want to have your dog have some profane name when the priest comes to visit now).

10. SPCA and adopting a pet

Buying animals from pet stores are not only quite expensive, but I am always a bit skeptical about where they come from. I believe that the better thing to do is to get a pet from the vet or SPCA. That way you can provide a good home for an animal of your choice. Things to take into consideration when getting a dog from there, is to ask as much information about the animal as possible. Find out how old they are, about their previous owner, where and in what condition they were found in and how they were treated. Dogs, for example, that were abused often are aggressive and need lost of time, attention and patience to readjust. Also find out the age of the dog and go there with some kind of idea of what you want, like a puppy or a fully grown dog. You can find more about adopting a pet at the SPCA website, www.spca-ct.co.za

Good luck with your decision.


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