(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Choosing the perfect pet for your family begins with doing your homework beforehand to determine the age, size and temperament of your ideal dog or cat. The whole family can share in the matchmaking fun.
Will your newest family member be an independent feline or a playful, social cat? A rambunctious, energetic dog or a laid-back lap pup? Will you fall in love with a beautiful long-haired cat or a domestic shorthair? Will you choose a gorgeous long-coated dog or a wash-and-wear short-coat type?
Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina Chief Veterinary Officer, suggests, “If you are planning to bring a new pet into your family, take advantage of tools such as the Purina Dog and Cat Breed Selectors to help narrow down your choice. It also helps to look for a pet that has been fed a high-quality dog or cat food that provides optimal nutrition for a long, healthy life.”
No matter where your search lands you, meeting potential pet companions is exciting. Purina is proud to support pet adoptions through the Purina Shelter Champions Partner Program. The 49 shelter partners located across the country adopted out 187,473 dogs and cats in 2018, making a sizable effort in finding forever homes for adoptable pets.
Here are four questions to consider in your search for the right pet. You may find the pet chooses you.
• What is your family dynamic? Does your family have young children under the age of 7? If so, a medium- or large-sized dog or an adult cat may be a better match than a kitten or puppy or a toy or small-sized dog that could be hurt during rowdy play. Are you an older adult seeking a companion? Consider an adult cat or a lap dog. If you choose a puppy or kitten, be prepared to educate children about safe handling. Do you have other pets? Try to find out if the cat or dog you are considering gets along with other pets.
• What is your lifestyle? Do you work long hours with little time to exercise an energetic young dog? For some dogs, a short daily walk or backyard romp is ample exercise, yet others need a vigorous workout to stay conditioned and relaxed. Keep in mind that kittens and puppies require a time investment to train and help them develop into healthy, well-balanced adults.
• Where do you live? Whether you live in an apartment or a house with a small- or large-fenced yard factors into the type of dog you choose. For example, if your neighbors are in close proximity, you probably don’t want a dog that frequently barks. A dog or cat that sheds a great deal may also impact your selection.
• Why do you want a pet? Are you seeking a companion, a protector, a sporting or hunting dog, an active dog to run with you, or a friendly dog to be a playmate with your children or other pets? Maybe you want a kitten or puppy to grow up with your children?
As you filter through the type of cat or dog that will work best for your family, you are halfway there to choosing a forever best friend. Life is better when you share it with a pet.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)