Dogs and Cats – How to Select the Right Pet for You

Dogs and Cats – How to Select the Right Pet for You

By Simon Guilder

From Lassie to Garfield, many of us have been entertained by shows depicting animals and have enjoyed having pets of our own.

If you have not had the pleasant experience of living with a pet, you might want to consider it now. The companionship and fun offered by having a pet of your own can’t be beat.

People choose everything from iguanas to parakeets for their pets, but dogs and cats are by far the most popular choices. Which of these would be best for you is the subject of this article.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when selecting species and breed for you and your family.

Both dogs and cats are wonderful as pets. You may want to be checked for allergies before adopting your pet because finding out you’re allergic later can be heartbreaking.

You can find pets from a variety of places – from the animal shelter, where they generally have all their shots, to a local veterinarian’s office that may have postings, to a breeder, easily located on the Internet.

When choosing a pet, remember to take into account the time and energy you have to care for your animal.

Cats are very self-sufficient animals who love to be treated like royalty. Although they can be friendly, they are also independent and after they get a little older, they can pretty much take care of themselves. You still have to train your new kitten to the litter box, but this is usually very easy.

If you’re an extremely busy person and do not have a lot of time to spend with a pet, a cat may very well be your best choice. If you are going on a weekend trip, you can leave your cat at home without concern; this would not be possible if you had a dog.

Dogs are one of Nature’s friendliest and most companionable creatures. Known as man’s best friend, your dog will be excited when you come home, and until they become very old, they will enjoy walking and playing with you endlessly.

When they’re puppies, dogs can take up a lot of your time as you have to house- train them if they’re living inside, and if you choose a larger dog especially, you will need to make sure your schedule provides time for daily exercise for them.

Dogs were bred for specific purposes, and it is in your best interests to understand what “job” the dog you’re interested in having was bred to do – even a mixed breed dog if you can find out what its main ancestry is.

For example, a collie was bred to herd animals. Their instinct is to round up a group by coming up behind and nudging, etc. This instinctive behavior is powerful, and virtually impossible to train out of a herding dog.

Also, herding involves covering distances at a run, so these dogs have incredible endurance. Knowing these characteristics helps you decide whether a collie is appropriate for you.

Collies are bred to work, and get neurotic if they don’t have a “job.” Plus, they need a great deal of exercise because they were bred for covering long distances.

To learn more about the characteristics and temperament of different breeds, you can find excellent books at your library or go online. Enter a term like ‘dog breed description’ in a search engine, and you will find many good informational sites.

Doing this little bit of research can save a lot of frustration trying to fight the nature of a dog that wasn’t the right breed for you, and can help ensure that you find a dog with characteristics that enhance your enjoyment of its companionship.

Simon Guilder has made a study of topics related to domestic animals. He is contributing writer of articles for AC Dog and ARE Books

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