Choosing to adopt a pet is a big decision that shouldn’t be made on a whim, especially considering the number of pets that are brought into shelters each year – 6.5 million cats and dogs alone. But don’t fret, there are steps aspiring pet owners can take to help reverse this statistic and it starts with choosing a pet that’s compatible with your lifestyle. While dogs and cats make great companions, there are plenty of other animals that are equally affectionate waiting for their forever homes. So, whether you travel often for work or are a working parent of three, Jay Springer, a pet expert at Pet Supplies Plus, is here to pair you with your next companion.
I Run Marathons – If you have enough energy to run several miles a day, you have enough energy to keep up with a herding dog. In fact, they’d love to run alongside you! This breed includes favorites like the Australian shepherd, border collie and German shepherd, to name a few. Plus, shepherd dogs are extremely intelligent, making them incredibly trainable. On the flip side, their intelligence can get them into trouble as they can get bored easily if not given proper time and space to run around. Having a backyard is a plus, but not necessary – just make sure you anticipate an energetic dog that requires long walks (or runs) in order to stay happy.
I Enjoy Walking – All dogs need exercise, but some require less than others. Pugs, bulldogs, Corgis and other smaller breeds like to walk, but tire easily either due to smaller legs or restricted breathing passages. These types of dogs would be a great match for a moderately active owner. With these breeds, you can even live comfortably in smaller spaces, like apartments. However, don’t make the mistake of never taking them out. These dogs enjoy being social and can become overweight quickly if not exercised regularly.
I’m a Musician – Looking for a pet that shares a love for music too? Studies show that birds’ brains react the same way to music as human brains do. Certain birds have even been known to understand tempo by bobbing their heads to a beat. And while birds often get pinned as an unaffectionate animal, they’re often incredibly affectionate toward their owners. The last thing they want is to be left in a cage and forgotten about. It’s also important to think about life expectancy with birds as most live well past 10 years with some surpassing 20 years.
I’m a Workaholic – If regular scheduled walks and feedings sound like too much for you, an aquarium can be pretty much self-sufficient, but it takes a few months of preparation. You can even set up automated feeding and water circulating pumps. If fish owners put in the time and money up front, they can have a diverse and healthy tank that doesn’t require too much attention. Salt water tanks are generally more expensive and labor intensive, while fresh water tanks are less so – just make sure you have enough tank space for all of your fish.
I’m a Busy Parent – Contrary to what most people think, cats can be incredibly affectionate, playful and friendly, making them great pets for busy people or families. So, make sure you take your time to see if a certain shelter cat is a fit for you. Most cats are self-sufficient if left alone for a few hours, with the exception of kittens. Plus, cats don’t need to leave the house – and shouldn’t – since they use a litter box and can graze on kibble throughout the day.
I Work from Home – Chinchillas are great companions and surprisingly full of personality, however they require a good amount of maintenance. This is because chinchillas can grow depressed if left in a cage and not many people want a play pen taking up their living room, making it important that an owner takes the time to let a chinchilla out of their cage to play and explore – they love games and treats! In addition to time outside their cage, chinchillas need dust baths a few times a week, which helps them clean their dense fur. They’re quick, so supervising them while they’re out of their cage is critical, especially so they don’t bite cords, molding and belongings (and believe me they will).
I Love to Travel – If you love to travel, but would also like some life in your home, a Betta fish is a great option. And, while they shouldn’t share a tank with any other fish (they’re aggressively territorial), do them a favor and get them a nice roomy tank for them to swim around and fill it with plants, rocks or a hammock (they enjoy resting on them). Bettas are also easy for other people to take care of while you’re away.