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Picking A Pet
Whether you are a college student with the new found freedom to
have your own pet, the parent of a child pleading for a furry
addition to the family, or a veteran pet owner looking to add a
different species to your family; choosing the right pet for your
lifestyle requires thought and planning. Pets are a long-term
commitment so impulse purchases or adoptions should be avoided.
To avoid getting into troublesome pet situations Dr. Bonnie
Beaver, professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, recommends answering four
important questions before deciding to get a pet:
1) Do you have the time to devote to a pet?
Pets require more than just food and water. "Evaluate your
lifestyle and try to choose an animal that you know you will be
able to care for," said Dr. Beaver. If a dog or cat seems to be too
much for you to handle there are other pet options. However most
pets will still need to be fed daily; if you travel often and do
not have someone else that can look after your animal you should
probably not have a pet."
2) Pets need food, grooming, toys, and veterinary care- can you
fit that into your budget?
It is important to think about the monthly cost of your pet. Be
realistic in your budgeting and make sure that you can handle the
added expense. Dr. Beaver states, "Food is the largest expense for
animals. Most people tend to think that the veterinary bill would
be the most expensive part of owning a pet because the bill comes
in one lump sum." Something to keep in mind while choosing a pet is
the general rule that the larger the pet the larger the
3) Is my living arrangement conducive to the type of pet I am
People who are looking for a pet need to take into account
multiple issues relating to their home life. Find out if there are
restrictions to the type of pet you can have because of zoning laws
in your area and if your lease will allow you to have a pet. Will
you have a pet deposit, and if so does it fit in your budget? If
you live in an apartment a big dog is probably not going to be the
best pet choice. Likewise, a person who keeps an immaculate house
may not do well with pets that shed often.
4) Do I have health concerns that rule out certain pets or place
special requirements on having a pet?
Dr. Beaver advises, "People who have allergies or weak immune
systems should be mindful of the effects certain animals can have
on their health." You should talk with your doctor and a
veterinarian if you have questions about your health and what
animals could have an effect on your condition.
If you can answer those questions with no red flags, you are
probably ready for a pet. Pick an animal you like and can manage.
The internet is a great resource to find information about
different animals and specific breeds. Also, talking with a
veterinarian before choosing a pet can help you to make the right
decision for your lifestyle. Dr. Beaver reminds us that "All
animals require attention and upkeep-they are not pet rocks.
However, if you are ready for a pet the experience can be rewarding
About Pet Talk
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& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.
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Angela G. Clendenin
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