Choosing a Pet



It’s often said that a pet isn’t just an animal, but a member of the family. Both anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests that pets help their owners enjoy longer, healthier, happier lives. Of course, with the wonderful rewards of pet ownership comes great responsibility. The Internet is a useful source of advice and assistance to keep coats glistening and tails wagging—if you know where to look. We’ve herded some of the Web’s best pet-care resources into this guide so you can spend less time researching and more time with your animal.

Choosing a Pet

Whatever your degree of experience with animals, do some research if you’re thinking of inviting one into your home. Many animal owners who don’t end up overwhelmed by the commitment. Use this section of the guide to determine what kind of animal is right for you, understand what special care each type of pet requires, and learn about specific breeds or species. You’ll find out what to do if you suffer from allergies or health concerns but still want to get a pet, and you’ll learn how to adopt a pet from an animal shelter. You can even visit an interactive site that allows you to “customize” your pet.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Think carefully about compatibility in every instance. Is every member of your household as keen as you are on this addition to the family? Will your lifestyle permit you to have the animal you want? Certain breeds of dog require a lot of exercise, for example. Would you be able to provide, say, an hour-long walk every day?
  • Talk to a vet or the manager of a rescue center, preferably someone who comes recommended by a relative or friend. Such professionals may spot factors in your lifestyle––ones you haven’t considered––that preclude or are conducive to certain animals. These people are a great source of reliable, unbiased advice.
  • As you research online, be sure that the sites you’re reading are objective. Many of the opinions you’ll find come from pet owners already enamored with their choice. Keep this in mind as you read about different animals and breeds.
  • If you are looking for animals that are bred privately, use the Internet to find reputable breeders instead of visiting a pet store. You can find out whether a breeder is trustworthy by visiting the breed association online.
  • Web sites that offer interactive discussions about animals or breed types may provide you with unanticipated but valuable advice, and you can also ask questions.
  • In this guide, you’ll find specific sections for dogs and cats. This is because they are the most popular domestic pets, and also because they tend to require more immediate and interactive care than fish, rodents, reptiles, or birds.

Dulcinea's Picks

For a general introduction to pet ownership …
For people with pet-related human health concerns …
For people considering adopting a homeless animal …
For help selecting a dog breed …
If you’re thinking of getting a cat …
For potential fish owners …
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