How to Choose the Right Pet

How to Choose the Right Pet
Whether you lead an active or quiet life, it's best to choose a pet that would enjoy the lifestyle it would have with you. (Ground Picture/Shutterstock)

If you’ve decided to get a pet, it’s important to take the time to choose the right pet for you and your family.  Rather than just going to the pet store or local animal shelter to just “see what they have,” go through this list of questions to help you decide what kind of pet is best for you, your family, and your lifestyle.


In order to choose the right pet, consider where you live, how much time you have, whether you can afford a pet, if pet fur is an issue, what pet is the best if you have kids, the temperament and size of the pet, and whether the pet will fit into your lifestyle.

What Pets are Suitable for Your Home?

Consider the size and type of home you have before getting a pet. If you live in an apartment, make sure you are allowed to have a pet, and get the specifics (there may be fees for a pet). Also consider the size of the pet (and how big the dog will get if you’re adopting a puppy). If you live in a house with a yard, you could consider a large dog, but if you live in the city or in a small apartment, a lap dog or house cat might be a better choice.

Do You Have Time for a Pet?

If you’ve never owned pets before, you may not be aware of how much time and effort is required to take care of a pet. Dogs need to be walked regularly, for example, whereas cats don’t. Puppies and kittens need constant attention, supervision, potty training…adult dogs and cats generally don’t. All dogs and cats need a certain amount of exercise and mental stimulation. For more details on what sorts of responsibilities you’ll have as a pet owner, read my articles (they both include a video):
How to Take Care of a Dog How to Take Care of a Cat

Can You Afford a Pet?

You’ll need to consider not only the cost of food and supplies, but also the cost of veterinary care.  Research the pet’s breed to find out if that breed is prone to certain health issues.  Also consider getting an inexpensive pet health insurance policy for your pet.  For help with deciding about pet health insurance, read my article, Health Insurance for Pets – Everything You Need to Know(includes video). Whether or not your pet ever gets sick, all pets need at least an annual checkup and vaccinations.  And if you travel frequently, consider not only if getting a pet is wise, but the cost of boarding as well.

Will Pet Fur Be an Issue?

Are you, a member of your family, or even someone who visits your home often allergic to pet fur?  Consider which pets shed more and which pets need professional grooming. Also consider whether you’re willing to keep up on this by, for example, washing pet blankets and brushing your pet regularly.

Do You Have Kids?

My family always had pets when I was a kid, and I think having a pet is so beneficial for children.  But not all pets are good with kids, so if you have young children, definitely consider this to make sure you’re choosing a pet that’s suitable for children.

How Will the Pet Behave?

You should consider the temperament of certain breeds, the age of the pet and whether they have had, or need to receive, training.  For dogs and puppies, I recommend The Online Dog Trainer for training, and for cats and kittens, The Complete Cat Guide.  If you have children, adopting a senior pet probably isn’t a good idea.  And if you’re considering a puppy or kitten, definitely get the training!  Read my reviews for more details:
Help with Cat Training (Complete Cat Training Guide Review)

Which Pet Will Fit Your Lifestyle?

If you and your family are active, you need to have a pet that can keep up with that.  If you’re retired and live a quiet, less active lifestyle, your new pet needs to be content with that as well.  A Boxer, for example, is a dog who’d love to go to the park and play in the back yard with the kids.  An English Bulldog? not so much.  If you’re a peace-and-quiet-loving homebody and live alone, an adult housecat who likes to snuggle might be the perfect fit.  A young puppy or kitten with endless energy? Maybe not!  Make sure the pet you’re choosing has a personality that matches your lifestyle so you’ll both be happy.

I Hope This Helped!

(Courtesy of Debra Sherman)
(Courtesy of Debra Sherman)
Choosing to get a pet is a big responsibility, but pets are well worth it in my opinion (that’s my cat, Whiskers in the pic.  He’s a sweet snuggle bug!).  There are so many dogs and cats in desperate need of a loving home.  Please consider adopting a dog or a cat from your local SPCA or animal shelter.  You can get help finding a suitable pet in my article, Where to Find a Pet – Search Near Your Area.  Additional resources are:
This article was originally published on
Follow on Instagram
Debra is the author of People Loving Animals, a blog devoted to the care, health, and training of dogs and cats. Debra donates 10% of all commissions earned to animal charities. To learn more about Debra visit
Author’s Selected Articles
Related Topics