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How to Choose a Pet

Did you know that pets outnumber people in the United States? Recent statistics have shown that 62% of homes have a pet, and that 46% of homes have more than one pet. That adds up to 380 million pets in a nation with a human population of 290 million people.

The first three categories are cats (78 million), dogs (65 million), and birds (18 million). Also popular are fish and small animals but their number is far behind the numbers of cats and dogs.

More and more people are buying pets because they realise the great advantages of having a pet, a pet is a great companion, a loyal friend and a part of the family. Since a pet has such an important role to play in your life it is important thinking hard to pick the right pet for you.

Carefully considering what pet you will get before getting it will pay off in the long run, that way you wont pick a pet you are incompatible with, you will get on well with your pet and you wont have problems with it in future. A poorly chosen pet may eventually have to leave, and the blame for the imcompatibility will be with you.

If you are choosing a pet the real choice you are probably making is whether to get a dog or a cat, perhaps you are considering a pet that requires less effort such as a fish or bird also. If you decide to opt for a dog you must then choose what breed of dog toget, with over 150 breeds you are spoiled for choice!

A dog will probably prove to be a better companion than a cat - it will be more of a friend, however a dog will also need more care than a cat. Dogs like to be around people whereas cats are more autonomous, they will generally spend their day off by themselves. Cats are more attracted to their home then to their owners generally.

You will need to carefully consider how much space you have, cats and dogd reuire quite a bit of space, so if you live in a small apartment then even a small breed of dog or a cat will feel restricted. If you have very little space perhaps you should go for a bird or fish, or may be a hamster?

Bear in mind that a dog cannot be left alone for very long, they need feeding, walking and attention. This may be a problem if you are away often and there is no one else around to mind the dog. Perhaps a kennel or neighbour would be available to care for the dog while you are away. Cats, though independent, do not like being left alone either although they can cope better than a dog.

Dogs need a lot of attention, they must be walked at least once or twice a day, on top of that they are full of energy and need space in which to live and play. Obviously the larger the breed of dog the more space it needs, large dogs such as shepherd dogs and Saint Bernards need a lot of space. Also consider how much your dog will eat - big dogs eat big meals!

Big dogs have the advantage that if trained properly, they can protect their owner and home, while small dogs (likepoodles) are more like a joyful toy at home. Small dogs are also suitable for children or for elderly people, who do not have the energy to walk a dog for miles and miles.

No matter what pet you decide on, ensure you have thought your desision through properly, a badly chosen pet will be unhappy if it doesn't suit you, so pick carefully.

Alyssa Hallam is the webmaster and operator of AH Pet Her site has a great collection of information on all different kinds of pets, including a free newsletter, pet resources and articles. For great pet information, go to:

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