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Choosing the best family pet

By Dr. Kathryn Sarpong, DVM

Selecting a new pet is an important decision since bringing an animal into your home means providing shelter, food, care, and love. Most cats and dogs have a lifespan of 12-20 years and it is a large commitment to adopt one into your home!

Many families with small yards, or living in apartments choose cats. Cats enjoy longer healthier lives if kept strictly indoors. Most cats enjoy having other pets in the household especially if introduced to other pets as a kitten. Cats can befriend dogs, other cats, and even birds.

Purebred and mixed breed dogs both can make great pets. Many pure bred dogs are available at shelters and in rescue groups. “Mutts” or breed crosses can often have good aspects of personality or appearance without some of the genetic problems that plaque some lines of pure bred dogs. There is now a test to see what combination of breeds is in your “mutt’s” family tree. Your veterinarian can send out a sample of your favorite dog’s DNA for analysis. Your veterinarian also can help you find a new pet from a rescue group or from a reputable breeder.

If using a breeder for your new puppy, beware of those advertising on an internet search engine or in the classifieds. Get a personal recommendation, and try to visit the home where the puppies have been raised. Ask to see the parents and littermates. Many of the severely ill puppies I see come from flea market type environments from unscrupulous breeders / dealers. Unfortunately, a lot of puppy mills supply sellers in our area. Good breeders will be happy to let you see their facility, dogs, and records.

Here are a few suggestions to consider. This is not meant as a complete list!

ACTIVE LIFESTYLE?
COUCH POTATO PARTNER?
DESIRE STRONG BOND?
ONLY 5 YRS COMMITMENT?
NEED HOME PROTECTION?
CHILDREN?
LARGE YARD?
CAN’T STAND FUR?
Labrador, Golden Retriever, Jack Russell, Aussie, Collies
Adult cat, older dog, Bichon, Papillion, Great Danes, Dachshund
Weimeraner, Husky, Vizla, West Highland Terrier, Papillion
Older or special needs pet – rescue groups often have these available
Rottweiler, Doberman, German Sheppard, Chihuahua + larger dog
Boxer, Newfoundland, Labrador, Cavalier King Charles, Bichon, kitten
German Shepherd, Great Dane, Pit bull, hunting breeds, several dogs
Poodles, Poodle crosses, or summer cuts on any dog, lion cuts on cats

 

Consider a trial visit to verify a good fit.

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