Let's look at the most common pets and see if they are right for our own lifestyle. They may not be the right pets for us but we do have other choices a large variety of exotic pets. I would like to compare the animals you're most familiar with.
Man's best friend the loyal dog. All dogs require exercise. Large breed dogs need lots of room to run around. They have so much to offer. A dog that loves their owner is a loyal friend for life. Times have changed though in dog ownership. Neighbors are less patience with noise and not patient at all with the waste involved with dogs! Be prepared to follow behind Spot with a pooper-scooper! Times have also brought about innovations such as the dog litter box. Yes, you can now train your dog to use a litter box. This is for small breed dogs. I cannot quite see a Great Dane using an indoor litter box. Dogs get very lonely without human interaction. So lonely in fact it will cause behavioral problems that are very difficult to correct. Dogs can be rather costly. You start with the original purchase price and then add the cost for license, shots, booster shots, maintenance, and veterinary care.
Many illnesses and accidents can happen to a dog. Surgery, laboratory tests, and boarding costs just to name a few will add up into the thousands of dollars. A dog is a wonderful choice of pet if you have the time, love, and space to care for him. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing in the eyes of a dog the shine for the love and devotion of his owner.
Cats are an excellent choice in many households. If you have to spend a lot of time at work, cats are usually pretty forgiving, as long as you give him a lot of love when you get home. A bow or two to his grace could not hurt either.
Even the horrid litter box and the odor that comes along with the litter box is not much of a problem anymore. The new crystal litters are such a blessing to the cat owner. If you do work long hours you might want to consider two cats. This way they can keep each other company when you are not home. Be sure to have a cat tower, scratching pole and green plants to chew on that way they will hopefully leave your stuff alone. Cats do like to scratch up walls and couches, they will most likely use a scratching pole, but do keep in mind they can destroy your beautiful couch while you are away. Declawing is never an option it is cruel.
Houseplants can also be a problem with cats. First many plants are poisonous to cats and second you could come home to find that your one big plant is now lots of little plants all over your floor. Cats also cost a great deal to keep. Some local governments require cat licenses. They also need shots and then booster shots each year. The cost of cat food is not cheap and you should feed a high-quality cat food. Serving your cat a low quality food will cost you plenty of money in the end with a urinary tract infection and or problems that occur because of feeding the incorrect food. Cats can have accidents and get sick, as with any pet, veterinary costs will always be involved in pet ownership.
There is also a wide variety of cats all with very individual personalities and needs.
Fish can fit into any lifestyle. They have their virtues in that they are quiet, need no vaccinations, and are utterly beautiful to watch. Starting cost can be quite expensive. First, you need to decide if you want salt water or fresh water fish. Gather all the information you will need to care for them properly. You must know how to correct chemical imbalances and ph problems in the tank, this must be correct before the fish are introduced to the water. There are accessories you will need to purchase for the fish tank. You will need a filter plate, filter, and gravel, plants that will keep algae under control, a heater for temperature, a thermometer, and a decholorinator to remove chlorine, a hood, and a light. After the tank is together, add the water then adjust the temperature and adjust the ph levels.
Check the water again in 24 hours to make sure the balances of ph are stable and the water is the proper temperature for the variety of fish you want. You will need to learn about fish diseases and have the proper medications on hand. After the initial start-up cost, fish are not expensive to keep, food, chemicals, medications and the power to maintain the filtering, lightening and temperature of the fish tank. Fish may not be cuddly but they are excellent stress reducers.
One of my favorite pets is the bird. There are so many varieties and sizes of birds. Each bird variety is different in how you care for them. Pet birds range in size from the tiny little finch to the giant hyacinth macaw. The cost for the pet bird also ranges exorbitantly. The cost of a finch may be as little as $10 compared to the cost of a hyacinth macaw, which could cost $20,000, or more.
Small birds are good pets if you live in an apartment. Large parrots can also be pets for the apartment dweller, if you have plenty of quality time to spend with the parrot. Parrots tend to be very noisy. Their deafening screeches will easily travel through apartment walls. Parrots are also very messy.
Parrots are highly social, and extremely intelligent. They will need to spend plenty of time interacting with their owner. Parrots have a highly complex social structure in the wild. This socialization must be substituted for in the domestic bird. Parrots also need a large variety of stimulating toys to play with. Rotate the toys frequently to keep the bird from growing bored. Spend plenty of time each day talking to your bird; giving it supervised freedom from its cage, and playing with your bird.
Along with the initial cost of the bird, you will need to purchase a cage. Choose your bird's cage carefully. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars on a "bird entertainment system" but you do need to pick out a cage that is safe for your bird to live in, the larger the cage the better. Watch out for small parts that can be ingested. Make sure that the cage is secure.
Parrots are master criminals and can escape easily from their cages. Make sure that the cage is primed and painted with a non-toxic substance. Birds do not need vaccinations but they do get ill and can have accidents so make sure you have access to a good avian vet before purchasing a bird. Bird proof your house before bringing your new pet home. Most of the following advice will apply to small birds as well as large parrots. Your home has many unsafe things in it. Non-stick cookware can emit toxic, fatal odors into the air and kill birds. Many houseplants are poisonous and will make a bird very sick or even kill it. Open boiling pots on the stove have taken many precious pet's lives as do open toilets and open containers. Ceiling fans and fireplaces must be off and out before a bird is allowed to roam free. Parrots have extremely long life spans and may out live you. Make sure you have plans if this should occur. Never let your bird out unless it is supervise. We have chosen to keep these creatures in our household, an unsafe place for birds, so it is our responsibility to make sure they are safe.
If none of these pets will fit into your family or household check out the wide variety of exotic pets on this site, literally hundreds of animals.
***The second article in the pet comparison series is about reptiles Exotic Pet - Reptile
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