How to Select the Best Pet for You

If you've decided to add a pet to your family, learn what care different animals require so you can make the perfect match.

You will need

  • A guide to pets
  • Honest answers to hard questions
  • Local ordinances (optional)

Step 1 Learn about different pets Learn about different animals; if you are considering an exotic or barnyard pet, check local ordinances to see what’s allowed in your community.

Step 2 Consider your living quarters Consider how much space you have. If you have a small place, consider a small pet; if you can provide room to roam, try a cat, dog, rabbit, or bird; if you have lots of outdoor space, you could handle a large dog or a horse.

Step 3 Consider your family situation Consider your family situation, including how many people and pets are already at home. If you have kids, stick with domesticated pets like cats, dogs, fish, or parakeets. If you already have other pets, think about whether they would get along with a new animal.

Step 4 Consider how much time and energy you have Consider how much time and energy you have to devote to your pet. The larger the pet, the more of your time and attention it needs to stay clean, healthy, and happy.

Step 5 Consider your budget Consider your budget. You’ll need to spend money on food, veterinary care, grooming, and toys. Horses require year-round stabling; exotic animals often need specialized habitats, food, and health care.

Step 6 Take your time deciding Take time making your decision. Discovering which animal best suits your lifestyle will ensure a lifetime of companionship for you and your new friend.