What pet best fits my home and lifestyle?

Never let emotion alone dictate your choice of pet. Choosing a pet based on how popular or cute it is may be one of the worst decisions people make. Far too often these pets end-up at animal shelters when their owners realize they are too high energy, too much work, too much money and on and on.

Assess your lifestyle then get to know the breed of pet you are considering. Seek out current owners of that pet and ask a lot of questions. The pet counselors at our stores are a great resource for anyone considering adopting a puppy.

For example, if you live in an apartment or a high rise, there are dogs that do much better in this type of setting than others. (See links below) Does your backyard contain plants that are toxic for dogs and/or cats? If you live alone, are you willing to commit the time necessary to raise a happy and healthy pet? Its life depends on you!

If you have kids you want to get a child-friendly pet, not all breeds of dogs work well with small children. Does anyone in your family have pet allergies? Not all pets are created equal. Do your homework.

It's a good idea to choose a pet with a similar personality to yours. For example, older cats are wonderful pets for the elderly, while hyperactive dog breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier or Border Collie require a lot of exercise and are not well-suited to a sedentary lifestyle. If you like to exercise outdoors, perhaps an active lifestyle dog such as the Labrador Retriever would love to join you. Again, do your homework: this pet will be with you for the rest of its life.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has done ample research on dog breeds so this information may be useful to you in making a decision.