The first thing to consider when choosing a new friend is what kind of lifestyle you and your family lead. For instance, are you home a lot, or do you travel a good bit? When you travel, would it be a place you can take pets or would they need to stay at home? How long are you gone for? How old are your children? Do you exercise a lot? Do you have a fenced in yard? All of these things help determine what kind of pet will be best suited for you.
If you travel a good bit where the pet couldn’t go, a cat or pocket pet, such as a hamster or gerbil, may be a more appropriate choice than a dog. Cats and pocket pets can generally be left for 1-3 days without a problem. Dogs however, need more constant supervision and can not generally be left alone for more then 8-10 hours at a time. If you go places where your pet can go along, like camping, a dog would be a good choice.
If you have small children you may want to adopt an older dog that will not be tempted to run your child over when playing. Golden Retrievers are wonderful family dogs once they reach an age of 3-4 years. This is when they generally start to “calm down” and are more affectionate and family oriented. Some smaller breed dogs tend to be snippy and can get aggressive towards children who do not know how to handle pets properly. Educating children on proper handling and care of pets is extremely important in preventing undue aggression. Any time you plan on bringing a new pet (cat or dog) into a home with children it is important for the pet and children to meet at least 2 times before bringing the pet home.
Also, if you are active outdoors, walking or running often, you probably want a dog that can keep up with your lifestyle. Retired Greyhounds are a wonderful choice for anyone who likes to exercise. They need a lot of exercise as well, and would be able to keep up with a fast pace. A smaller breed dog that’s little legs can not keep up would be out of the question.
Some hunting and tracking breeds like Beagles or Basset Hounds make loving pets, but can also be easily distracted by outside influences. For instance, if you would take your Beagle out for a walk without a leash and he would see a squirrel you may never see him again. Be aware of this when choosing a scent hound as your companion. If you do find this is the right pet for you, it is strongly recommended that you have a microchip implanted to help identify your pet.
Animals are a wonderful addition to any family. Choosing the right kind of pet is the most important thing you can do. This will not only make you and your family happy, but will also prevent having to surrender the pet to a shelter because it doesn’t quite fit into your family.