Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association | 1121 Chatham Road Springfield, IL 62704

How to Choose a Pet

Pets come in many shapes and sizes, from the diminutive guppy to the ½-ton pleasure horse, from a feathered parakeet to a furry wolfhound.
These companions enrich our lives, as we do theirs.  So, choosing the right pet requires careful consideration.

Thorough research of the different choices available, as well as contemplation on why you want a pet, will help ensure that you and the pet you select will have a happy coexistence. Pets should not be impulse buys. Consideration of the following questions will help you make the best decision for all concerned.

-What is your lifestyle? Are you active or more sedentary? Do you work long hours, or travel a lot?

-What are the ages of your family members? Will small children, seniors, or persons with special needs be interacting with the pet? Who will be the primary caregiver?

-Are there other pets involved? If so, do you know how they interact with other animals?

-Will there be landlord/neighbor issues? Are there restrictions on the size or breed of the pet? Do you have any neighborhood restrictions? Will there be potential noise issues?

-What is the lifespan of the pet? Are you prepared to care for a bird that may be around for decades, or to lose a mouse that may only live for a couple of years?

-What are the costs involved in pet ownership? Besides initial expense, have you considered yearly expenditures for food, veterinary care, supplies, grooming, training, etc?

Reflecting on these points should get you off on the right foot in your search for an animal companion. Always feel free to consult with your veterinarian regarding any aspects of your selection process; he/she can provide valuable information to aid in your decision-making. Celebration of the human-animal bond is integral to veterinary medicine. Veterinarians, technicians, and staff all want to ensure that your new addition will have a long, happy life with your family.