Choosing The Right Type Of Pet

If you haven’t had a pet before, you may not realise quite how different they can be. Every type of domestic animal has specific requirements for their care, and some need much more looking after than others.

To be a responsible pet owner, it is important to select a pet that fits with your family, lifestyle and current commitments. That way you can be certain that you can provide your pet with the attention and care that they need to live a full, happy and healthy life.

Here are some of the considerations that you should make to help you choose the right type of pet.

Questions to ask yourself about your lifestyle


Do you have children and how old are they? Younger children may not always be good with pets that require handling or are free to roam around the house. You may need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to teaching your child the right way to spend time with specific types of animals.


How much time do you have to dedicate to looking after a pet? If you work long hours then some types of animals, dogs in particular, may become lonely. You may also need to find someone who is prepared to walk a dog during the day for you, and let it outside to go to the bathroom!

Other animals, such as reptiles, rodents, small mammals and even cats, are a lot let fussy about human company during the day. Litter trays and cat flaps mean that the call of nature is much more easily dealt with in feline friends too.

Your health

Are you fit and healthy enough to take good care of your pet? This is especially important for pets like dogs that require a great deal of exercise.

Space and environment

It is equally important that you can offer your preferred type of pet the space and environment that they need to thrive. All animals require a certain amount of space, regardless of whether they are in a vivarium, a cage, another sort of enclosure or free to roam in your home. Your veterinarian will be happy to advise you how much space different animals will require – it will probably surprise you!

Environment can also play a part in the health and happiness of your pet. Areas with excessive noise can cause animals to become stressed, particularly if they are sudden or particularly loud. Easy access to outside is important for dogs, and even many cats who like to don’t like to be confined to their homes. Natural light is essential to the healthy growth of a number of animals – including tortoises – so the ability to have a safe, outdoor enclosure for these pets is essential.

Going away

There may well be times that you are unable to be at home, perhaps travelling for work or simply away for a vacation. It is important to think about who will care for your pet during this time and ensure you pick a friend, family member or boarding venue that you are certain will be able to do a great job of looking after him/her.

Think about how much your pet will cost

Pets require money as well as time, and the cost of caring for your pet will vary depending on the type of animal that you choose. The financial obligation that you will face can be broken down as follows:

Initial costs

This includes the cost of buying/rehoming your pet, setting up their enclosure (if required), plus purchasing any other essential and immediately required items, such as a leash and food bowl.

One-off costs

One-off costs can include things like neutering and microchipping.

Annual costs

Vaccinations are required annually to help keep your pet safe from dangerous and contagious diseases.

Monthly costs

These include any pet insurance, as well as food, bedding/substrate any any regular flea or worming treatments.

It is essential that you can meet the costs of caring for your pet responsibly in order to provide them with a long, healthy and happy life.

The lifespan of your pet

Taking on a pet is a big commitment, and the longer the predicted lifespan of your choice of animal, the longer you can expect your commitment to be. Here are the average lifespans for some common household pets.

Dog: 10 - 13 years

Cat: 15 - 17 years

Hamster: 18 months – 2 years

Gerbil: 2 – 4 years

Guinea Pig: 4 – 6 years

Rabbit: 8 – 10 years

Fish: 2 – 3 years

Snake: varies hugely depending on species, but usually 15+ years

Chameleon: 5 – 7 years

Iguana: 20 – 25 years

Tortoise: 40+ years

Bringing a pet into your home is not a decision to be taken lightly, but one that has been proven to bring great benefits to every member of the household. By choosing wisely, you can ensure that you and your new pet can enjoy a long, happy and healthy life together.