How to Choose a Pet You'll Love!

New Pet Owners  •  Pam Karkow  •  Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Love Your Pet Day occurs during the month of February!  Last year, we shared six ideas for how to love your pet in our post, Love Your Pet Day. This year, we’re going to dive into the topic of choosing the best pet for you, so the loving part is easy and second nature.   

Besides attending to his basic needs, when it comes to caring for your pet, showing him love and affection and keeping him healthy is paramount.  Let’s talk facts and figures for the most popular pets on the market, dogs and cats.  After reading this, you’ll be ready to choose a pet you’ll love.

What you need to know about…

Common house cats

Average 10-15 pounds and can live up to 16 years.

Pros: These cats usually only require an annual wellness checkup and often live very healthy, low maintenance lives.  They are good with kids and other pets!

Cons: They love to eat, so make sure to monitor your cat’s diet.  Since a house cat is a combination of a variety of breeds, they come with a variety of temperaments.  Some are skittish, while others are very friendly.  Get to know your cat so you can honor his temperament when you interact with him.

Purebred cats

Average 10-15 pounds and can live from 12-15 years.

Pros: Every breed has their own distinctive traits, so if you do your research you will know what you’re in for with the breed you've chosen.  If you are looking for a cat who is good with your children, the Birman is first on PetMD’s list of Top Five Calm Cats.  The Birman “loves to love,” won’t run away and hide when company comes, and is receptive to training.

Cons: Some breeds need more grooming than others.  For example, long-haired Ragdoll cats need to be brushed every day to avoid matting and hairballs.  Certain breeds are prone to genetic diseases as well, which could drive up the vet bills and take a chunk out of  your wallet. If you know your breed is susceptible to certain genetic diseases, consider enrolling your cat in pet insurance with inherited coverage before the cat turns two so you can be reimbursed for some of the costs!

If cats aren't quite your style, and you're looking for a pet that requires a little more time and energy, a dog could be a good fit!

Large dogs

Average 70 pounds and can live up to 10 years.

Pros: Large dogs are typically good family dogs.  According to the American Kennel Club, some of the best family dogs are the labrador retriever, golden retriever, irish setter and the newfoundland!

Cons: Large dogs require a lot of room to move about, a larger amount of food per day and many large breeds need a lot of exercise too! If you will have trouble walking your dog at least once a day, a large dog may not be for you.  Large dogs are also prone to hip and joint problems, which means if you choose this dog for your family you may want to look into pet insurance to help protect against unexpected vet bills.

Medium dogs

Average 30-50 pounds and can live up to 13 years.

Pros: They are still active and playful, without the added girth of a large breed.  Medium-sized dogs don’t require as much exercise as larger dogs.  Another perk?  Medium-sized dogs tend to be among the healthiest dog breeds.  According to Jennifer Coates, DVM in Fort Collins, Colorado and veterinary advisor to, “In my experience, dogs that are still being bred to do a job tend to be the healthiest.”  See the PetMD post 10 Healthiest Dog Breeds for more stats on healthy dogs.

Cons: Some medium-sized breeds tend to have health problems.  French bulldogs are a popular midsize breed, but due to their squashed noses, are prone to breathing problems.  Make sure to do your research so you can be prepared for any health problems.

Small dogs

Average 5-15 pounds and can live up to 15 years.

Pros: Easy to carry and light on the shedding, small dogs are good for small spaces and families who like to take their dogs out and about. 

Cons: Small dogs can be fragile and prone to injury, so they need to be handled with care, especially in a home with small children.

Do your research!

Choose wisely, and do your research.  Rest assured, the benefits of owning a pet outweigh the risks.  You can be prepared for medical expenses by investing in pet insurance and knowing common health issues of the pet you select. Whether you're adopting a shelter pet or bringing home a pet from a breeder, be prepared for a ton of new love in your life!

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