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What Pet Best Suits Your Lifestyle?
by Kari Lamanuzzi
photo of hampster
You've made the decision to take the plunge and get a pet. It's a big commitment and there are a lot of things to consider before you delve into such a venture. A pet is a living thing and needs love, attention, and food so make sure that your schedule and your wallet will allow you to provide a good home. Start by making a list of the minimum time a week you know you can commit to a pet. This would also be a good time to budget an amount that you can comfortably spend on your pet on a monthly basis. Remember that pets like dogs and cats require regular vet checkups, shots, and sometimes registration.

Little To No Commitment
You lead a busy life. Between meetings and social events, you don't really have time to worry about a pet that needs an emotional bond or a daily walk but you would still like to have some kind of pet. Never fear, there are pets out there that can fulfill your needs. Goldfish require very little commitment aside from daily feeding. Most pet stores offer kits that include everything you need besides the actual pet. Some even include filters which will reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do for the tank. If you would like something a little more personable than a fish, however, look into small cage animals like hamsters, mice, and gerbils. The most care they usually require is cleaning the cage on a regular basis and you can still play with them when you are feeling lonely. Of course, if even that is too much for you to handle, there is always the pet rock.

Some Commitment
You have some free time and money to spend on a pet and you want something with a little more spunk and personality than Herbie the hamster. No problem. Cats tend to be a little lower maintenance than dogs but do still require time, care, and money. Try adopting an adult cat from a rescue group if you have never owned a cat before. Sure, kittens are cute and cuddly but they grow into cats and they are very rambunctious, especially if they don't have a constant playmate. If you adopt a grown cat you will already have an idea of its personality and most likely it is already trained. Most cats spend time lying around, eating, and looking for your doting affection. Keep in mind that litter boxes need to be changed regularly and the cat needs fresh food and water daily. Some dog breeds like the Great Dane are also great, low maintenance apartment pets. If you just aren't a cat person, look for dog breeds that require little walking time but remember that you will need to put in the effort to crate and train your dog.

Full-On Commitment
If you are prepared and willing to spend a lot of time training and caring for a pet, a dog or kitten is an acceptable choice. Most dogs need regular walks and dogs like Shetland Sheep Dogs need a lot of room to run around. If you make the choice to get a dog or a kitten be prepared to child-proof your home. You will need to cover furniture and move breakable or important items from places where they may easily fall. You will need time and patience when training your new pet to relieve himself in proper areas and do simple tricks like come, stay, and sit. Dogs also require frequent and regular grooming which can be a hassle if you plan to do it yourself.

Now you're ready to take the plunge. You will find that being a pet owner can be both frustrating and gratifying but it is worth all the stress and hassle to come home to unconditional love. Bond with your new pet and he will be your best friend forever, be it goldfish, Lassie, or a pet rock.

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