Dogs – Good companions, have hair* and some require daily to monthly grooming, vary in size, need yearly exams & vaccines, need attention, need exercise, need certain living quarters and space, need the yard cleaned daily and can be treated by most veterinarians.
Bad habits may include: Digging, rough playing, marking territory with urine or feces, barking excessively, jumping the fence, chasing cats & squirrels, chewing on things, rolling in things, eating feces, and getting into the trash.
Cats – Good independent companions, have hair* and some need daily to monthly grooming, need yearly exams & vaccines, need attention, need exercise, need space, need the litter box cleaned daily and can be treated by most veterinarians.
Bad habits may include: Scratching furniture & carpet, marking territory with urine or feces, biting, playing rough, climbing or jumping where they are not allowed, rolling in things, and they can be finicky eaters.
Birds – Have feathers, vary in size, need a cage and space, need attention, larger birds' beaks can break things (including fingers), need a specialized diet, need toys to keep them busy, need wing, nail & beak trims regularly, need baths weekly, sing and make noise, need cage and area around it cleaned daily to weekly, need to be closely monitored for health problems, and need a specialized vet.
Bad habits may include: Biting, screeching, destroying things if bored or stressed, plucking feathers, and are messy.
Reptiles & Amphibians – Can be from 1 inch to 30+ feet, need a temperature and humidity controlled environment, need a specialized diet, need exercise, need aquarium cleaned weekly or more, need to be closely monitored for health problems, and need a specialized veterinarian.
Bad habits may include: Trying to escape, biting, hitting you with their tail, some snakes will constrict, scratching, & may smell.
Rodents – Small, have fur*, are contained in a cage*, live about 1-4 years, need cage cleaned once weekly or more, need to be closely monitored for health problems, need exercise, may need nail & tooth trims and need a specialized veterinarian.
Bad habits may include: Chewing on things, trying to escape making messes, biting and scratching, may smell.
Fish – Vary in size, are contained in an aquarium, need a closely monitored environment (especially with salt-water varieties), need the aquarium cleaned once monthly or more, live from hours to years, and most veterinarians do not treat fish.
Bad habits may include: Eating the other fish.
Other – Ferrets, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs: Have fur, vary in size, need specialized living areas, need to be cleaned up after daily to twice weekly, need to be closely monitored for health problems, may need nail & tooth trims, need exercise, need a specialized veterinarian and ferrets need vaccines.
Bad habits may include: Chewing on things including cords, biting, scratching and may smell.
Exotic Animals – Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Poisonous Snakes, Monkeys, Alligators, etc.: DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS! THEY ARE MEANT TO BE IN THE WILD, NOT WITH HUMANS!
* = In most cases
Choose the right pet for your lifestyle
Are you gone a lot? Do you have children? Do you have other pets? Do you make enough money to support this pet? Are you retired? Do you have time to play with and clean up after this pet? Do you have time to take this pet to the vet regularly? Is anyone in your family allergic to a certain type of pet? Are you living in a small apartment? Do you have the time to take your dog to training?
Make sure that you have an emergency fund ready
To keep your pet healthy, its veterinary bills can vary from $100 to an unlimited amount per year. An emergency surgery can cost $500 to $2500 or more! Do you have a savings account for your pet? Do you have a credit card? Be prepared so your pet can get the care it needs. Pet insurance is available to help with costs. Saving your change for your pet fund will help! Know where your veterinarian recommends that you go for emergencies.
Prepare for the pet BEFORE you get it home
Do you have a book on how to raise this pet? Do you have adequate shelter or living quarters for this pet? Is your yard fenced? Do you have the right kind of food for it? Do you have toys to keep this pet entertained? Do you have a kennel, bowls, a bed, etc.? Do you have an appointment made with your veterinarian to have your new pet examined & vaccinated? Do you know of a good boarding facility if you need it?