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What To Look For When Choosing a Pet: How To Find The Perfect Dog For Me?

How to Choose a Dog: What Is The Best Type of Pet For Me?

When it comes to finding the best type of pet for your family, it’s important to consider the needs of you and your family first. Of course, your lifestyle will need some adjusting when introducing a furry friend into the mix, so choosing a new family member that best accommodates your current family and lifestyle will make the experience easier for everyone. Knowing what to look for when choosing a pet and more importantly, why these factors matter will help. Here’s how to choose a dog that’s perfect for your family and lifestyle!

  1. Living Arrangements

When choosing a pet, consider your housing situation first. If you live in an apartment complex with a shared backyard space versus a house with a private yard space, your options for dogs may vary. Obviously, larger breeds will need more space to run around and play in. Of course, how you plan on caring for your dog may change the situation.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re looking to bring a large dog into the family, make sure that your home can accommodate them comfortably. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, such as bulldogs and greyhounds — although there are caveats (we’ll explain them next!).

The best type of pets for small apartments will be the smaller puppers that don’t mind a day (or a few hours) indoors. Additionally, if you live in an apartment complex, know the management’s policy on dogs. The ‘perfect dog for me’ might not be the ‘perfect dog for your housing complex’. Instead, mix the demands of your family with the demands of your complex when choosing the best type of pet for you. If your complex only allows for small dogs, then breeds such as German shepherds and Huskies will not be allowed. Consider the long-term living arrangements with your furry friend and how large they are expected to grow.

For small apartments, Boston terriers, chihuahuas, pugs, Basenjis, and similar small dogs may be the best type of pet for you. For a large home, you don’t really face any constraints.

  1. Lifestyle

Your lifestyle and living arrangement can supplement each other at times. Back to the bulldogs and greyhounds — while they are more than happy to relax around the house, they will require daily physical activity such as long walks or trips to the dog park.

When choosing a pet, you must consider your lifestyle. If you are the type to naturally be active (or have a family that is more than willing to take their turn walking the dog), then a more active dog that can accompany you on walks and runs will be the best type of pet for you. These include Huskies, German shepherds, golden and lab retrievers, border collies, and more! For dogs requiring less exercise, consider English bulldogs, chow chows, Boston terriers, pugs, and more. Note that some of these breeds will still require a walk at least once a day, but every dog is different and has different needs. Look into breed characteristics to figure out the best type of pet for you.

  1. Time Allocated

Similar to lifestyle, you should know how much time you can dedicate to your pup. For instance, will someone (not necessarily you at all times) be around your pup? Will your dog have to deal with perhaps 2-3 hours of alone time or will it be closer to 8 hours? When asking ‘how to choose a dog’ for you, it’s important to consider both what you need and also what your dog will need. Of course, if you have to leave your dog home alone for 8+ hours a day, your dog will manage; however, there are some dogs that are better equipped to stay at home alone for longer periods of time. These may be the “perfect dog for me”. The best type of low maintenance breeds include Labradoodles, Boston terriers, English foxhound, Shiba Inu, and chows. Depending on the breed, consider getting a doggie door. While the addition of a doggie door can create additional safety considerations, often these can be helpful in ensuring your pet has the opportunity to potty and get some exercise on their own.

Alternatively, there are options to get your dog exercise while you’re at the office. For instance, apps like Wag! or Rover have people standing by to walk dogs for about $20 a walk. Or, if your office is dog-friendly (and you are opting for a dog that can be trained more easily), you can bring in your pup.

  1. Any Siblings?

Will Fido be introduced to small children, other dogs, cats, and/or smaller pets like birds or snakes? Because there are different things you should know about each sibling, we’ll break down the differences when choosing a pet for you.

Children. There has been some back and forth on when you should introduce a dog to a child. Is 1-years-old too young? How about 5-years-old? A good rule to follow is that for families with children under 6 years old, you may be able to adopt a dog over 2 years old. Why not a puppy and a child at the same time? A puppy — even a breed that tends to be lower maintenance — requires more time and energy during their growing years than adult years. You will be constrained for time and need to allocate resources carefully. Additionally, puppies go through a teething phase that may be harmful for new children and toddlers. Additionally, anything from rough play to growing dogs ~unaware of their own growth ~ can pose a risk to smaller children.

Other Dogs. When choosing a pet, it’s important to note that some dogs are lone wolves. Some breeds prefer human companionship to other dogs and may even be jealous when you’re at the dog park petting another dog. Border collies, Australian shepherds, German shepherds, Samoyed, pugs, and poodles are just some of the people-focused dog breeds. This isn’t to say they do not do well with other dogs; many do. You just need to properly socialize them and get them accustomed to sharing attention with other dogs.

Cats. There are ways to socialize and safely introduce cats and dogs that are unfamiliar with each other. Again, a lot of this will depend on the nature of your dog and cat, but there may be a considerable amount of time investment. For instance, one animal may send a ‘play’ signal that the other species interprets as threatening or dangerous. It’s important to know the socialization steps involved with introducing a dog to a cat. If you have the time and resources to do this, then here is a nifty guide on starting the process. It’s also important to see if a dog can handle co-opting a space with a cat.

Small Animals. When it comes to a dog co-opting a space with a bird, iguana, or turtle, you’re facing an uphill battle. There will be a lot of time that you’ll need to dedicate to training your furry friend as to not harm your other critter at home. Teaching your dog commands such as ‘leave it’ or ‘out’ (spit out) may be handy in training your dog on what they can or cannot do.

That’s Just The Tip of the Iceberg

Obviously, there will be many more things to consider when it comes to picking the best type of pet for your home. It may seem like an exhaustive search; however, when it comes to choosing a pet, remember that you are bringing a new member into your family so it’s important to make sure it’s a good match. There are many questionnaires and quizzes for you to check out to get you closer to your next match! Check out IAMS, American Kennel Club, Pedigree, and Purina to help close the gap between you and your next best friend!

Why You Should Consider Adopting A Senior Pet

Senior man with senior dogShould you consider adopting a senior pet? The answer is a resounding YES! November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month, so let’s look at some of the reasons why you should at least consider adopting a senior pet.

Senior pets lose their homes for a variety of reasons, and most have nothing to do with their behavior. Their families may have experienced hardship or loss of a home. Sometimes, senior pets have lost their people due to the death of their guardian, or they’ve had to move to a senior care facility or other accommodations that don’t allow pets. Worst of all, some people simply give up their animals because they just don’t want them anymore. No matter how you look at it, it’s heartbreaking.

Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

Senior pets need homes just like puppies or kittens. Older animals in shelters or rescues are less likely to be adopted, and more likely to be euthanized.

Senior pets are usually fully house trained and know basic commands. And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Senior pets have a longer attention span than younger animals, and can learn all sorts of new tricks and commands.

Senior pets are less rambunctious than puppies or kittens, so they make wonderful companions for people of all ages, especially senior citizens. They’re calmer, and usually have fewer destructive tendencies than their puppy and kitten counterparts who love to chew everything within their reach while they’re teething.

Finally – you’ll be saving a life. You might be surprised at how much love and joy you’ll get from adopting a senior pet. While they may miss their former family, they can and will bond with new people, and can make wonderful companions for the rest of their days.

National Adopt a Cat Month

Beautiful white cat holds a sign saying adopt me.June is the American Humane Society’s Adopt a Cat month and the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat month, so if you’ve been thinking about adding a feline friend (or two) to your family, hooray! There are thousands of beautiful cats of all ages in shelters – all are just waiting for a good home.

If it’s been a while since you adopted a new cat, it’s also a great time to review tips that can help east the stress of bringing a new kitty into your home. Cats are territorial animals, so they’re most likely going to be confused and scared until they settle in. It’s definitely a process, but it’s well worth the effort.

Here are a few tips for helping new kitties settle in:

Consider Adopting Two: If you don’t already have a cat at home, oddly enough you’ll find things to be easier if you adopt a pair. Obviously, it’s important that they get along – with the shelter full of Spring litters, finding bonded pairs is much easier. Cats need stimulation and exercise, and having two provides exactly that – someone to play with when you’re not around. Trust us, they’ll provide plenty of laughs and love for you along the way.

Provide a Safe, Confined Space: New kitties need safe space like a laundry room, spare bedroom or bathroom to live in while they’re adjusting to their new surroundings. A cozy bed, cardboard box or cat carrier can provide a sense of safety for your new friend, but remember, your kitty needs to be able to stand up and turn around easily. Give them access to plenty of food, fresh water and a clean litter box with an inch or two of litter inside their room , but be sure to keep the litter box away from their food. Nobody wants to have dinner next to their toilet, no matter how clean it’s kept.

Patience is Key: It might take a week or two for your new cat or kitten to feel safe enough to come out and explore. if you have other pets in the home, keep them separated from the newcomer and introduce them slowly. They will be very aware of each other’s presence – a baby gate can help keep boundaries intact.Don’t push things. Always keep dogs leashed when they’re meeting the newest family member. Correct them immediately with a command like “Sit!” or “Stay!” if they show any signs of jealousy or threatening behavior. Be extra careful with small children – they can get overexcited and squeeze or pet too roughly, causing the cat to struggle, scratch or bite out of fear.

Book a Wellness Visit: Your vet will carefully examine your new pet, give them any vaccinations, and advise you on good preventive care routine, including regular dental cleanings. We would be honored to help you keep your new pet healthy and happy longer. Find an AZPetVet location near you. Be sure to ask about our new kitten packages and FREE Vaccines for Life program!

Adopt a Senior Dog & Save an Animal’s Life

November is Adopt a Senior Dog Month, so we thought it might be helpful to go over some of the reasons you should consider adopting an older pet.

Statistics show that once a pet reaches the age of five, their age becomes a huge barrier to adoption. The older the animal, the higher the chance they will be euthanized quickly, because of overcrowding, as well as the time it takes to place them in a good home.

Older pets lose their homes and families for a variety of reasons. While many people believe there must be something wrong with the pet, like health or behavior issues, most often, it’s problems with the owner’s life – illness or death, financial challenges, allergies, changes to work schedules or moving to a new residence.

On the brighter side, senior pets make wonderful companions for families and senior citizens. They’re also a great choice for those who don’t have the time or patience to train and raise a young animal. This is especially true for dogs, who require house training, obedience classes, socialization, and regular exercise. Another advantage of adopting an older dog is that you won’t be surprised by how big they get – they’re done growing.

While older pets may be stressed and confused by the transition from their home to the shelter or rescue, most will quickly adapt to a new, loving home and family.

Our prescription? Kindness, patience, and lots of love – and of course, regular wellness checks to keep them healthy. Numerous studies show that dog owners are often healthier than non-dog owners, so that’s another bonus!

Ready to give an older pet a chance but need to know where to adopt a senior dog? A quick Google search will show that the Greater Phoenix metro area has a number of rescue organizations dedicated to rehoming senior animals. That’s a great place to begin!