Jessica Brody BLOG: Is Being a Pet-Owner for You? Find the Answer Here (as Well as Tips for Success) Jessica Brody @

 Jessica Brody blogging: Is Being a Pet-Owner for You? Find the Answer Here (as Well as Tips for Success) Jessica Brody, |

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet lately, you’re not alone. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pet ownership is on the rise in the U.S. Dogs are still the most popular, but more people than ever are getting everything from fowl to ferrets. And why not? Research shows that pets are good for your mental health. People who have them even tend to have lower blood pressure and be at lower risk for heart disease. And for those dealing with anxiety issues, having a pet can be a total life-changer. Read on for tips and advice for choosing the one and how to be the best pet parent on the block. 

How to Choose?

So how do you know what to bring home when there are horses, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, turtles, snakes, fish, and on and on? Sometimes you just know, but aside from that, you’ll need to determine which pet works best with your lifestyle. Some choices are made for you, like no matter how much you want a horse, if you live in a Manhattan studio apartment, that’s going to be a no go unless you can also rent an equestrian stable out in the country. Aside from “the heart wants what the heart wants” aspect, you’ll need to ask yourself these questions: 

  • Does anyone in your family have a pet-specific allergy? Before bringing home that beautiful Persian cat, make sure no one in your family is allergic to cats.

  • What can your budget afford? Do you have Samoyed and Chow Chow tastes with a parakeet budget? Be realistic regarding what you can afford when you consider all the expenses from food and toys to grooming, routine vet care, and occasional vet emergency care and boarding. Thankfully, Vet Finder can put you in touch with local veterinarians, and sites like City Pet sitters can connect you with people who can lend a hand when you need to be away from your new best friend.

  • How much time can you devote to your pet? Dogs are very social creatures and live to be with their person. They need daily walks and the ability to go outside to relieve themselves at least three to five times per day. If you want a puppy, they require even more attention because you need to train, socialize, and spend time with them. 

  • What are your expectations? Are you looking for a hiking companion, a snuggler, a protector, or a combo of all three? If you consider yourself more of a couch potato than a marathon enthusiast, being a cat owner might be your best bet, although some dog breeds do just fine with owners who are more on the sedentary side. 

  • If you are renting, you’ll need to find out if your landlord or community has any breed restrictions before you make a decision.

How to Prepare for Your Pet.

All pets need a place to eat, play/exercise, sleep and relieve themselves. Decide how you’ll take care of these needs before bringing your new baby home. Cats need their own special supplies, and dogs and birds need theirs. Do your research ahead of time on how to pet-proof your house, as well as find the best food if they have any particular allergies. Most importantly, select a good vet, and have her number in your contact list. 

Cleaning up after your pet will now be added to your daily to-do list. If you’re getting a dog, know that you’ll need to scoop up after him twice a day, and if you’re getting a cat, be prepared to maintain a litter box daily. With certain pets, you’ll need to stay on top of controlling pet dander in your home. The best way to do this is to vacuum and dust surfaces regularly. It also can’t hurt to consider an air purifier built to clear the air of pet allergens, though these sorts of appliances will require filter maintenance. So yes, another expenditure to consider when making your choice.

Taking care of these needs will go a long way in making your new pet feel safe and comfortable. Rescue pets especially may be nervous and fearful at first. The more time you spend with your pet in these early days, the better the long-term bonding will be. 

When you bring a pet home, you are making a commitment to him for life. All your preparation now will go a long way in ensuring the best start for your new life together. You’ve got priceless days ahead of you. Welcome to the world of happy and fulfilled pet owners!