Questions You Should Ask Before……


Your Perfect Companion


When you think about a new cat or dog, what is your dream picture? What do you see yourself doing with your new companion, and how do you see her fitting into your life? Do you want a dog as a jogging partner, or a lap rug while you read the paper? Do you want a cat who constantly explores and plays, or one who will quietly cuddle with you for hours on the couch? Your lifestyle and expectations will be one of the most important factor in selecting the best companion animal for you and your family. Ask yourself:



  • What do a typical day and week look like for you? It is helpful even to write out a schedule of your day and week, and see where animal care will fit in.


  • What are the rules of your house?


  • How active is the house?


  • How often and to what extent will you exercise the dog? How often will you play with the cat or dog, and how rambunctious do you want the play to be?


  • Do you have children? What are their ages? Do they have friends over a lot? What is their activity level? Will doors, cabinets, or gates get left open?


  • Where will the animal have her “downtime” space (to go when she needs a break from the activity of the house)?


  • Do you travel often?


  • Do you entertain often?


  • Where will the animal sleep?


  • What will it do when you are busy? When you have a party? When you travel? While you’re at work?


  • What do you expect the animal to provide for you and your family?


  • Does everyone in the household want the animal?


  • Can you adjust your routine to the demands of a new canine or feline family member?


  • Who will provide daily care? Who will provide vacation care?


  • If you’re thinking about a dog, who will take the animal to training class? Will everyone in the family go to class?


  • How much time will you spend grooming?


  • How much does fur bother you (don’t just think about allergens, but also about fur on the carpet, the furniture, and your clothes)?


  • How much money will you spend on: food; the veterinarian; training; toys; grooming; boarding?






Your Needs



It is also important to consider your needs when you think about choosing an animal. Consider:



  • Does anyone in the family have allergies?


  • Are there any elderly people in your household, or visiting regularly?


  • Are you pregnant, or do you plan to become pregnant soon? How many children do you plan to have? The care and training of a new pet demands a significant amount of time and energy; Open Paw does not recommend getting a new companion animal if you are pregnant or have very young children in the household. Furthermore, your lifestyle, expectations, and needs change when a new child comes into the family, and this will affect your relationship with your cat or dog


  • Do you have noise sensitive neighbors?


  • How many animals will your new animal have to interact with? (Do you already have animals? Do your immediate neighbors have animals? Do friends bring their animals to visit?)


  • How often will you walk the dog? Will the dog go to off-leash parks, or mostly on leashed walks? (Dogs who go on leash walks will have to be very friendly to people and animals).


  • What is your living situation? If you rent, do you have permission from your landlord to have an animal?


  • Will you be moving soon, or do you move a lot?


  • What kind of activities do you want the animal to participate in with you? (Sports, driving, sitting at cafés, going to the dog park, etc.)


Only after you went through these questions, can you go on to what kind of dog is best for you.


Be honest with yourself and family.