Why do you want a pet?
For a faithful companion on my outdoor adventures
For my kids, I don't really want a pet myself
To provide care and a home for another living creature
To observe them and learn about their behavior
What size of pet do you want?
As long as I show them I am dominant, I can handle any size of animal
I'm interested in a pet that requires minimal handling
I want an animal I can pick up and carry
I am prepared to safely work with animals that are larger and stronger than I am
How much money do you have to spend on a pet?
I have saved a good amount of money for start-up costs, but I don't regularly have that much money to dedicate to an animal
I'm very well-off and willing to pay for whatever my pet needs
I've worked out a budget and determined that I can afford regular medical care and food for an animal, but I might have trouble affording huge expenses
I really don't want to spend much money on a pet
How much room do you have for your pet?
I have a large backyard and/or nearby trails for walking
My pet would have the full run of the house
I plan on letting my pet roam around outside and come and go as it pleases
My pet will have its own habitat within one room of the house
I am prepared to construct a new large habitat for my new pet
I live with people who don't like pets, so space will be restricted
What would you prefer to feed your pet?
Easily-stored dry food from the pet store
Whatever is cheapest and easy to find
Fresh produce and specialty items
How will you set up your pet's living space?
I am willing to closely monitor temperatures, humidity and other environmental factors to make sure my animal is healthy
My animal and I will share the same space and temperatures
Where will you go to learn about how to care for your animal?
I will learn as I go - the animal is the best teacher!
Classes led by professionals
To a veterinarian who specializes in the animal
The people who work at the pet store
Books and online resources written or recommended by certified professionals
What is your opinion on veterinarians?
I want a pet that does not need to visit the vet regularly, unless it is sick or injured
Veterinary care is always a waste of money. Why pay vet bills again and again, when I can just pay for for a replacement pet once?
The kind of animal I want is not really worth taking to the vet if it gets sick
Veterinary care is invaluable to prevent and treat injury and disease. My pets will get regular check-ups even if they appear healthy
How do you feel about animal training?
I have experience with animal training, but I am always looking for ways to improve my technique
I grew up with animals, and I plan on training them the same way my parents taught me
I've never trained an animal before, but I will be taking classes led by professionals to learn how
I've never trained an animal before, but I have excellent intuition, so I know I can train them well on my own
I'm looking for an animal that requires minimal training to be kept healthy and mentally stimulated
I will quickly establish myself as the leader and my animals will respect me as the alpha, just like they would in the wild
What would you do if your pet bit or scratched you?
Get rid of it! I can't live with a pet I can't trust
Punish it so it learns not to do it again
Back off and think about how you could change its environment or your own behavior to decrease its chance of biting you
Handle it more carefully in the future, to prevent it from harming you again
Consult an animal behavior professional or your veterinarian
Are you able to exercise and interact with your animal every day?
Are you away from home for long periods each day and/or do you make frequent overnight trips away from home?
What sort of relationship do you want with your pet?
Food-bringer and habitat-cleaner
Can you live with a noisy pet?
I don't mind a little noise now and then
I can't live with a noisy pet
I can, but my neighbors can't
Are you or any of the people you live with allergic to furry animals?
I'm allergic to all furry animals OR I don't know if I am allergic to any furry animals
I'm allergic to many furry animals, but not dogs or cats
No furry animal allergies
I have several furry animal allergies, but no cat allergies
I have several furry animal allergies, but no dog allergies
It looks like it might be time to get yourself a new feline companion. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind. Cats need regular veterinary care, which can get expensive if the cat develops serious or chronic medical conditions. Common behavior problems include spraying, scratching furniture, and attacking people's legs. Cats require pleasant social interaction to trust humans, and well-socialized cats may enjoy cuddling and being picked up by humans. Cats should also be fed a formulated diet as recommended by a qualified veterinarian. Overall, cats are interactive pets that form strong bonds with their human families, and many of them can live into their late teens and early twenties.
It looks like it might be time to get yourself a new canine companion. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind. Dogs need regular veterinary care, which can get expensive if they develop serious or chronic medical conditions. They also require high amounts of socialization and exercise. Most dogs need a lot space to walk and benefit from a large backyard or nearby walking trails. Some small breeds of dogs, however, do well in mostly indoor environments. Dogs require a large amount of training and socialization to behave appropriately around humans and to learn to eliminate waste outdoors, and should be fed a formulated diet as recommended by a qualified veterinarian. Overall, dogs are highly interactive pets that form strong bonds with their human families, and many breeds of dogs can live for up to ten to fifteen years.
It looks like it might be time to get yourself a new feathered friend. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind. While some kinds of birds, such as canaries and budgies, are relatively simple to care for, many others, like parrots, lovebirds, parakeets, and cockatiels, require a massive commitment of money and time. The veterinary care, food costs, and habitat costs for these birds are much more expensive than they are for dogs and cats. Classes on bird care and training led by professionals are highly recommended. Typical pet stores are often a poor source for appropriate information, food and habitats for birds. Bird caregivers often have to seek specialty sources for food and equipment, and these sources may be hard to find. Parrots require long periods of interaction and training to provide for their mental health and socialization to humans. Some parrots develop feather-plucking behaviors that give them a poor appearance that makes them unattractive to some people. Some parrots learn to bite when their body language is not adequately understood or respected, and their bites can be very painful. Parrots need regular veterinary care and are very sensitive to poor environmental conditions. Large parrots can live for over 75 years, and even the smallest parrots (such as parakeets) can live into their late teens.
A snake, lizard, or invertebrate
Though not everyone is attracted to these sorts of pets, most snakes, lizards, and invertebrates are low-maintenance pets when compared to birds or mammals. Most do not have to eat daily and require very little interaction from their caregivers. Like all animals though, even reptiles and invertebrates need regular veterinary care, but veterinaries that treat these animals can be difficult to find. Many reptiles and invertebrates feed on mice or insects, which require their own special storage and are not for the squeamish. Because reptiles and invertebrates often do not form strong bonds with their caregivers, they may bite if not handled carefully or respectfully. Since they are cold-blooded, they also need very specific environmental conditions to stay healthy. Popular choices for pet reptiles and invertebrates include ball pythons, corn snakes, king snakes, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and tarantulas. Many snakes can live for over 20 years, lizards typically live into their teens, and female tarantulas may live for several years.
It looks like it might be time to get yourself a new equine equal. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind. Horses are extremely expensive, high-maintenance pets, and require large amounts of land, the construction of shelters, and specialized care. They are highly-interactive pets that require large amounts of training to behave safely and appropriately around humans. Training classes led by professionals are strongly recommended. Since horses are typically kept outdoors, special attention must be given to the weather and other environmental conditions to ensure the horse can healthily cope. Due to the fact that horses are very large and powerful, they require experience or expert supervision to ensure safe interaction. Most horses tend to live for over 20 years.
Fish are popular pets for those who want to care for an animal but are limited in space and ability to interact with their pets. Fish include a large group of animals and some are easier to provide for than others. A knowledge of water quality maintenance is a must, especially for saltwater fish. A good knowledge of natural history and behavior is also important, especially for those who want to keep a variety of fish in the same tank together. Another important consideration is that many fish sold in pet stores are harvested from the wild. Care must be taken to select fish that do not contribute to the depopulation of wild species. Different fish require different habitat spaces - it is not true that fish will only grow to the size of their tanks. A large species of fish will get large no matter what and may require larger and larger tanks as it matures.
A rabbit or rodent
Rabbits and rodents, such as rats, mice, hamsters, and chinchillas, can be highly-interactive pets that require less space than dogs or cats. They can form strong bonds with their caretakers, provided they are properly socialized and handled gently in a way that does not frighten or stress them. They require frequent veterinary care and must chew on hard items regularly to keep their teeth worn down. They reproduce quickly so males should be neutered or kept separate from females to avoid overpopulation. Small mammals can be dusty and messy, and because of their high metabolism, they consume food often and quickly. Formulated pellet diets are available for most rabbits and rodents, as recommended by a veterinarian, but they also benefit from specialty items that can be hard to find. Chinchillas are among the most high-maintenance of popular pet rodents, as their needs are more specialized than rats, mice or hamsters. Long-haired rabbits also require frequent grooming. Small animals can learn to bite if their body language is not properly understood or respected. Most rodents and rabbits live for less than 10 years, but chinchillas frequently surpass that.