by Julia Bumberry, DVM

Pets can be a wonderful addition to a family, but how do you know which pet is right for you?

An important consideration is your family’s lifestyle and what you want from your new pet. Are you looking for an all-around companion to accompany you on adventures? Or, do you envision something else entirely?

Some pets need a lot of activity and room to run to prevent them from getting bored and exhibiting destructive behaviors. Others prefer to cuddle and be couch potatoes.

Consider the age of your potential pet. If you adopt or purchase a puppy or kitten, they will be more energetic and need more frequent bathroom breaks and supervision than a full-grown adult dog or cat.

Larger pets are typically more expensive for food, medication, and supplies. And, just like humans need medical visits to our doctors, most all pets require some level of veterinary care.

Understand allergy or spacing restrictions before bringing a new pet home. Hypoallergenic breeds are an option for people with fur sensitivities and allergies, but so are some of our not-so-furry friends such as snakes, lizards, and fish. Smaller “pocket pets” such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits can also be a good option if you have limited space.

Regardless of the type of pet, your family is interested in, do your research on the breed’s typical behaviors, health conditions, nutrition needs, and activity level. Most shelters and breeders will allow a trial period with a potential new family member to make sure they fit in well and get along with any other pets already established in your household.

Your local veterinarian would be happy to discuss concerns and questions you have about your potential pet. They are available to help and enjoy meeting your new and current companions.

Dr. Julia Bumberry is a veterinarian at Allphin Veterinary Clinic in  Branson West. She is a graduate of the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine.