Choosing a Small Pet

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Pet ferret peeking out from under a blanket

Adding a small pet to your family can be a lot of fun, and there are quite a few adorable little pets to choose from. Just keep in mind that caring for one of these animals is a big responsibility, and there are several points to consider that can help you decide which pet is ultimately the right one for your family.

Fur, Fins, Feathers or Scales?

Check out a variety of small pets and see which ones appeal to you the most. Are you drawn more to birds or reptiles? Would you prefer an aquarium stocked with beautiful fish or something small and furry like a Guinea pig to cuddle? Once you decide which basic group of pets appeals to you most, you can narrow down your choices.

Important Points to Consider

Basic appeal can point you in the right direction. However, there are other factors you need to consider that will help you zero in on the exact pet that's right for you.

How Much Time Can You Devote to a Pet?

All pets require care, but some are more demanding than others. For example, a fish might be a better choice if you have a busy lifestyle. If you have a lot of free time, a rat might be a great choice since these animals thrive on attention and mental stimulation.

Also, consider how much time and effort it will take to clean your pet's habitat. Speak with an experienced keeper about maintaining a particular pet's environment, and don't take on more than you can handle.

How Much Space Can You Provide?

Every pet deserves the largest habitat you can provide, but there's still a big difference between providing a spacious cage for a mouse and providing a flight cage for an Amazon parrot. Consider how much space you can devote to a new pet.

Child holding a lovebird

What Can You Afford?

When you purchase a pet, you also need to figure in the cost of supplying that animal with a proper habitat, food, and occasional veterinary care. Some costs are ongoing, so be sure you can afford to keep up with your chosen pet's needs.

Will Other Members of Your Household Be Comfortable Around Your Pet?

Unless you live alone, you need to consider other family members' feelings about the pet you choose. A lovebird might be perfectly welcome, but a rosy boa may be a bit too intimidating for someone who fears snakes.

Choosing the Right Pet Takes Time

Far too many pets are purchased on impulse, and people often wind up trying to give the animal away once they find it doesn't really fit their expectations or their lifestyle. Take time to really think about what you want from a pet, as well as what you can give to it. That way everyone winds up happy.

Choosing a Small Pet