Before you make the commitment to become a cat or dog parent, it is important to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you find out which is the best pet for you. Keep reading for 3 top things to think about when making this big decision. Cat or dog? Which is the best pet for you?
Activity level of a pet (and you!)
Before getting a cat or dog, consider your activity level. Prefer a night of Netflix and chill over going out for a long run after work? A cat may be a great companion for you. Cats are relatively low maintenance. They require food and water daily, litter box cleanings, and routine vet care. If you are full of energy, like going for hikes and getting outside, a dog might be the right fit for you.
Dogs are social, active animals and require daily exercise in addition to daily food, water, and routine vet care. The activity level of the dog depends on personality, size, breed, and age. If you feel a dog would be a good fit for your active lifestyle, do some research to learn more about specific breeds’ personality traits and energy levels.
Is your schedule is packed full of cross country adventures, work meetings, or social outings that keep you away from home the majority of the time? You may want to reconsider getting a pet at this time. If you still plan to get a pet and know that there are times that you will be away from home for an extended period of time, be prepared with pet care options. A pet care provider can give your pet the care and attention they need while you are away. This will provide consistent exercise, training, and socialization for your pet. This is great enrichment for your pet and can help curb negative, undesired behaviors from boredom.
Housing your dog or cat
Consider your housing; do you live in a small high rise apartment building, a large open house with a big open yard, or something in between? Is your home better suited for a cat or a dog? Think about how much space and exercise each animal may need. A cat or small breed dog may not need a large home or large yard and would be happy in a smaller home. A large breed or high energy dog would be better suited to a home with lots of open space for walking around and access to a large yard for exercise.
Before you bring a new pet home, be sure to check with your landlord or housing association to ensure that your home allows animals. Some apartments and condos may limit the number of animals you are allowed or charge an additional fee for a furry roommate.
In addition to checking in with your landlord, be sure to check in with your current roommates before introducing a new pet. Do you, your roommates, children, or spouse have allergies to cats or dogs? If you are unsure, a doctor can provide an allergy test to confirm any existing allergies. Do the people you live with like cats or dogs? It is important to make sure that everyone in the home has respect for the animal, and it is made clear who will be responsible for caring for the animal.
Financial considerations when choosing a pet
Animals are not just a one-time cost. In addition to the initial cost of buying or adopting a pet, there are other expenses including the cost of food, medications, and routine vet care. Consider the cost of care for a cat or dog. A cat eats much less food than a large dog and may require less frequent routine vet care, although cats have longer average lifespans than dogs.
Cats, on average, can live up to 20 years while dogs, on average, live up to 13 years. This is dependent on the size, breed, and health of the specific animal. To maintain the health of your pet, they will require routine vet care for checkups and vaccinations. While it is difficult to consider, your pet may also face unexpected injuries or illnesses. This may mean unexpected medical expenses. Pet insurance is a great option to consider for covering some of these unforeseen expenditures. Healthy Paws can help you save up to 90% on your vet bills.
If you are still unsure about getting a pet, or you are unsure if a cat or dog would be the best fit for you, consider spending time volunteering at a local animal shelter to work with both cats and dogs, or try fostering a pet to see if a cat or dog would be a good addition to your family.
Becoming a pet parent is a long term commitment and it is important to consider which type of animal is best suited to your lifestyle, home, and family. When unexpected work, travel, or time commitments arise, a pet care provider is a great way to get extra support for you and your pet. Space Coast Pet Services offers pet sitting, walking, pet taxi services, and more to help you provide the best care for your pet!
One last thing… in case you didn’t already know, our blog features various cat and dog breeds each month so you can really dive into which pet is best for you and your family.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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