The most common pets are dogs and cats in the United States. The AVMA states “There are approximately 70 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 74.1 million pet cats.”
The number of small pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils adds considerably to the number of pets kept along with reptiles, birds and fish. It is easy to see pets are a part of the lives of many people. Pets are proven to be beneficial to their owners through lowering blood pressure, warding off depression and boosting immunity. However, pets are different things to people. Some even consider them a nuisance and choose to have no pets, which should be respected as their choice.
Choosing a Pet
Choosing a pet includes many factors such as time available and necessary to care for the pet, space requirements, costs for care, living arrangements, laws in the area and what kind of pet you have a desire to keep. Some want a dog to greet them at the door when they get home, something they can take for walks, play with and hold. Others like the aloofness of the cat and their not being needy when it comes to attention from the owner. Some people enjoy the soothing sound and view of an aquarium, keeping fish, which require almost no interaction except for feeding and aquarium maintenance. Reptiles are an increasing area of pet ownership with many fascinated by the different animals available, from snakes to tortoises and lizards. Birds come in small finch species to large parrots, some to be handled and some to only view.
It’s not recommended to hug your fish or take your snake for a walk and your bird probably will not play fetch. It is based on what you expect of a pet and what fits your lifestyle. Keeping some of the more exotic pets may require more time and adjustments to the owners life, but many do and more is learned constantly about proper care and keeping of exotics. The knowledge and research about any pet you consider is important to know what to expect in behavior, care requirements and how long your pet might live with quality care. Being aware your betta might live two years compared to a goldfish might live twenty-five years with optimal care may make your decision different in simply choosing a fish.