WHICH PET IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Take this quiz and find the right companion for you.

A bad match is one of the leading causes of failed human-animal relationships, while a thoughtful match can produce a long-lasting and deeply rewarding attachment. This questionnaire will help you decide whether you can afford the time and money a pet requires---and select the pet that's best for your lifestyle.

PART I: TWO VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

1. Do allergy problems run in your family?

If you suspect someone in your household might have pet allergies, it's vital that you find out before you adopt anything. Your doctor can perform the appropriate tests. But animal breeds vary in their potential to trigger allergies, and doctors can't test sensitivity to individual breeds. So I tell people who know they have allergies to aim for one of the less allergenic: Rex cats, Sphynx cats, Poodles, Bichon Frises, Shih Tsus, Lhasa Apsos, and some terriers. Visit an animal of that breed for at least a couple of hours, and see if it gives you problems. Don't adopt until you're certain.

2. Do you own your home?

If you're a renter, don't assume pets are allowed. Check with your landlord first. Landlords who do not allow dogs or cats might allow pet birds, reptiles, or small mammals.

PART II: CANINE, FELINE, OR SOMETHING SMALLER?

1. Is your house empty for more than about 9 hours a day during the week?

Yes………………………………………………….............5 points
No, there's usually someone home ..........................................1 point

2. How much time can you devote to feeding, grooming, training, exercising, and playing with a pet on a daily basis?

One hour or more……………………………………………1 point
30 minutes--1 hour…………………………………………..5 points
30 minutes or less …………………………………………..30 points
I have no time to devote to a pet…………………………….200 points

3. Do you spend more than four nights a month away from home?

No…………………………………………………………1 point
Yes…………………………………………………………5 points

4. When you do go out of town, can you find a responsible person to feed, play with, clean and care for your pet daily?

Yes…………………………………………………………1 point
No………………………………………………………….200 points

5. Are there children under the age of 3 in your household?

Yes………………………………………………………….5 points
No……………………………………………………….....1 point

6. Does your house have a yard that's at least 600 square feet (about 25ft. x 25 ft.) ?

Yes…………………………………………………………..1 point
No…………………………………………………………...5 points

7. Can you spend up to $500 during your first year of pet ownership for vaccines and neutering of your pet?

Yes…………………………………………………………..1 point
No…………………………………………………………..30 points

8. Can you spend up to $1,000 dollars or more each year for your pet's food, annual checkups, shots, and supplies?

Yes…………………………………………………………..1 point
No…………………………………………………………..30 points

9. Could you afford to pay up to $1,000 for a veterinary emergency?

Yes…………………………………………………………..1 point
No…………………………………………………………..30 points

Now add up your score and match it to your pet!

9 points or less: You can consider a dog or a large bird. These pets demand maximum time, attention, space, exercise, training, food, and, often, money. Proceed to Part III.

10-29 points: You should rule out dogs and large birds as pets. Consider a cat, or something smaller (see below). Cats are the low-maintenance pets of the '90s, 00s. They don't require nearly as much social time with humans. Rabbits and ferrets also fit into this category, however, they will thrive with daily attention and exercise time out of their cages. Proceed to Part III.

30-141 points: Rule out cats and dogs and consider something smaller: a pair of canaries or finches, fish, reptiles, a chinchilla, guinea pigs (get two of same sex to keep each other company), or a hamster. Any of these can make good companions, and are usually easier and less expensive to care for than dogs and cats (though there are exceptions).

142 points or more: Consider a pet rock, or a videotape of a fish tank. They're low-cost, no-maintenance, and no one gets hurt.

PART III: PUPPY OR DOG, KITTEN OR CAT?

1. If considering a dog: Does the idea of housebreaking an active puppy and cleaning up 'accidents' fill you with horror?

Yes: Get an adult dog.
No: You can consider a puppy.

2. Is the condition of your home furnishings (like carpeting, draperies, chairs, couches and wallpaper) very important to you?

Yes: Consider only a well-trained, well-behaved adult dog or cat. (A dog should be over 3 years old.)
No: You can consider a puppy or kitten.

If you're fastidious about your home environment, a well-behaved adult is the smart choice. The downside: Some adults are available for adoption because they have serious behavior problems, which may not surface until you get them home. It's important to get as complete a history as possible from the owner or shelter, and observe and interact with the animal before you bring it home. Ask if you can return the animal if things don't work out after a couple of weeks.

Still considering a puppy or dog? Go to Part IV.
Still considering a cat or kitten? Go to Part V.

PART IV: DOG BREEDS

If you're interested in a purebred, do a lot of homework. Careless breeding has led to a slew of inherited troubles in many breeds, like eye disease and hip dysplasia. Books are a good starting point (see below). Talk to experts: veterinarians, breeders, and handlers and judges at dog shows. The recommendations below may help you match your needs to some of the more popular breeds.

If you:
....like to run or take long walks and want your dog to join you:
Consider a breed that demands plenty of exercise every day. Examples include: Hunting dogs, like Labradors or Golden Retrievers; and herding dogs, like Australian Shepherds or Shelties.

....can only take short walks every day:
Consider a toy breed, like a Pug, Yorkshire Terrier, or Papillon. They also don't mind a small apartment or yard. If you have a larger property, you may consider one of the giant breeds that don't need much exercise, like Newfoundlands or Great Danes.

....have children, and want a "love dog" that's very unlikely to bite:
There are no guarantees, but consider: Pugs, Whippets, Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzsu's, Australian Shepherds, Beagles, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Portuguese Water Dogs, Newfoundlands, or Norfolk Terriers. Steer clear of the aggressive breeds: Akitas, Chows, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, and Lhasa Apso's.

....prefer to do a minimum of grooming:
Select a short-haired breed, like a Doberman, Whippet, or Labrador.

....prefer a minimum of shedding:
Choose a breed that sheds very little. These include Poodles, Bichon- Frise's, and many terriers.

....want a cute, healthy, good-tempered animal--period:
Consider a mixed breed. Commonly found in shelters, they can make the best pets. Check as much as you can about family history and behavior, but in general, mixes have fewer medical problems. For more information or examples of breeds, consult one of the many dog breed books available. My favorites include: Your Purebred Puppy, A Buyer's Guide (Holt & Co, 1991) by Michelle Lowell and The Perfect Match (Howell, 1996) by Chris Walkowicz.

Part V: CAT BREEDS
As in dogs, mixed-breed cats (also called "Domestic") tend to be the healthiest. If you're interested in a purebred, it's critical to research different breeds as well as the particular litter and the individual that interests you.

If you:
....prefer to do a minimum of grooming:
Consider short-haired breeds: Domestic Shorthairs, or, among the purebreds, Siamese or Burmese.

....prefer a minimum of shedding:
All cats shed! The most common breed that sheds the least is the Rex.

....have children:
The most affectionate breeds are Persians, Himalayans, and Burmese. Avoid Siamese: Some are quite aggressive, especially with less restrained children.

....have a small apartment:
Persians are a good choice. Avoid Abyssinians and Maine Coon Cats. They tend to be very active, and like more space.

....have limited time to play:
Every cat needs at least 15 minutes of devoted play every day. Cats that are satisfied with the minimum include Persians, which are notoriously unathletic. Getting a second cat as a companion is also a good way to fulfill its needs if you're not around much.
Good books about cat breeds include: The Cornell Book of Cats, edited by Mordecai Siegal, and Your Purebred Kitten, A Buyer's Guide, (Holt & Co.,) by Michelle Lowell.

If you have any question call us at (218) 237-7100, we’ll help you.