What Pet Should You Own?

Looking for an animal companion? Answer these 25 questions and find out what pet you should own! (NOTE: This quiz is intended for inspiration only and should not be used in place of expert advice.)

Ginger Gray
Created by Ginger Gray
On Nov 17, 2018

Why do you want a pet?

What size of pet do you want?

Which of these animals would you most like to own?

Which of these animals would you least want to own?

How much money do you have to spend on a pet?

How much room do you have for your pet?

What would you prefer to feed your pet?

How do you feel about insects and spiders?

How will you set up your pet's living space?

Where will you go to learn about how to care for your animal?

What is your opinion on veterinarians?

How about kids?

How do you feel about animal training?

What would you do if your pet bit or scratched you?

Are you able to exercise and interact with your animal every day?

Are you away from home for long periods each day and/or do you make frequent overnight trips away from home?

What would you do if you could no longer care for your pet?

How do you feel about re-homed or rescued animals?

Will you breed your animals?

How do you feel about your government's regulations on your pet?

Do you smoke?

What sort of relationship do you want with your pet?

Can you live with a noisy pet?

Are you or any of the people you live with allergic to furry animals?

Any other animal allergies?

A rescue dog

A rescue dog

Many dogs are looking for homes at local shelters!

Dogs need regular veterinary care, which can get expensive if the cat develops serious or chronic medical conditions. Dogs require high amounts of socialization and exercise. Most dogs need a lot space to walk and benefit from a large backyard or nearby walking trails. Some small breeds of dogs, however, do well in mostly indoor environments. Dogs require a large amount of training and socialization to behave appropriately around humans and to learn to eliminate waste outdoors. Training classes led by professionals are HIGHLY recommended. Dogs should be fed a formulated diet as recommended by a qualified veterinarian. There are many government regulations regarding dogs, so you should be familiar with them before you get your new dog. You should be very familiar with leash laws, breed-specific legislation and lease requirements for pets before getting a dog. Dogs are highly interactive pets that form strong bonds with their human families. Many dogs can live 10-15 years.

A rescue cat

A rescue cat

Many cats are looking for homes at local shelters!

Cats need regular veterinary care, which can get expensive if the cat develops serious or chronic medical conditions. Cats should never be allowed to roam outdoors off of a harness, to protect them from disease and injury and also to prevent them from killing birds and other native wildlife. Cats do not have to be taken outdoors to eliminate waste and most cats readily use a litter box. Common behavior problems in cats include spraying, scratching furniture, and attacking people's legs. Cats require pleasant social interaction to trust humans, and well-socialized cats may enjoy cuddling and being picked up by humans. Cats should be fed a formulated diet as recommended by a qualified veterinarian. There are some government regulations regarding cats, so you should be familiar with them before you get your pet, especially since some hybrid breeds are banned in some areas. Cats are interactive pets that form strong bonds with their human families. Many cats can live into their late teens and early twenties.

A re-homed bird

A re-homed bird

Many parrots and fowl are up for adoption at rescue and re-homing organizations.

Caring for parrots (including parakeets, cockatiels, conures, and lovebirds) requires a massive commitment of time and money. The veterinary care, food costs, and habitat costs for birds are much more expensive than they are for dogs and cats. Classes on parrot care and training led by professionals are HIGHLY recommended. Typical pet stores are often a poor source for appropriate information, food and habitats for birds. Bird caregivers often have to seek specialty sources for food and equipment, and these sources may be hard to find. Parrots require long periods of interaction and training to provide for their mental health and socialization to humans. Some parrots develop feather-plucking behaviors that give them a poor appearance that makes them unattractive to some people. Some parrots learn to bite when their body language is not adequately understood or respected, and their bites can be very painful. Parrots need regular veterinary care and are very sensitive to poor environmental conditions. Large parrots can live 75+ years, and even the smallest parrots (such as parakeets) can live into their late teens.

Fowl, such as chickens and ducks, can also be kept as pets, but required an outdoor area that is safe from predators, as well as protection from adverse environmental conditions. They often require the construction of a suitable shelter. Feed for ducks and chickens is not often found in pet stores and may require specialty suppliers. Veterinarians for chickens and ducks may also be difficult to find. Because many species of fowl are considered livestock, there are often government regulations regarding their keeping and care. Roosters are most commonly available for adoption as they often cannot be kept with other roosters and must be separated from hens to prevent breeding.

A snake, lizard, or invertebrate

A snake, lizard, or invertebrate

Many snakes, lizards, and invertebrates (such as tarantulas) are up for adoption at specialized shelters!

Though not everyone is attracted to these sorts of pets, most snakes, lizards, and invertebrates are low-maintenance pets when compared to birds or mammals. Most do not have to eat daily and require very little interaction from their caregivers. Like all animals, even reptiles and invertebrates need regular veterinary care, but veterinaries that treat these animals can be difficult to find. Many reptiles and invertebrates feed on mice or insects, which require their own special storage and are not for the squeamish. Because reptiles and invertebrates often do not form strong bonds with their caregivers, they may bite if not handled carefully or respectfully. Since they are cold-blooded, they need very specific environmental conditions to stay healthy. Popular choices for pet reptiles and invertebrates include ball pythons, corn snakes, king snakes, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and tarantulas. Many snakes can live 20+ years, lizards typically live into their teens, and female tarantulas may live several years.

Some cold-blooded animals are innately ill-suited as pets. Crocodilians, extra-large snakes, and large tortoises, are difficult to keep as their large size and long life-spans do not fit well with most people's lifestyles. Even small tortoises and turtles can live an extremely long time, some species easily living between 50-100 years. Large reptiles and venomous animals also carry a serious risk of injury to their caregivers. Hermit crabs, though popularly sold as souvenirs, are often unsustainably harvested from the wild and are sold with false care instructions that eventually lead to their premature death. There are often many government regulations regarding cold-blooded animals as pets, particularly in warm climates where tropical species may survive and become invasive if they escape from a pet-owners home.

A rescue horse

A rescue horse

Many adoptable horses can be found at rescue organizations!

Horses are extremely expensive, high-maintenance pets. They require large amounts of land, the construction of shelters, and specialized care. They are highly-interactive pets that required large amounts of training to behave safely and appropriately around humans. Training classes led by professionals are HIGHLY recommended. In order to perform more complex behaviors, such as showing or being ridden, additional training is required. Because horses are typically kept outdoors, special attention must be given to the weather and other environmental conditions to insure the horse can healthily cope. Because horses are very large and powerful, they require experience or expert supervision to insure safe interaction. Horses can live 20+ years.

A fish

A fish

Fish are popular pets for those who want to care for an animal but are limited in space and ability to interact with their pets.

Fish include a large group of animals and some are easier to provide for than others. A knowledge of water quality maintenance is a must, especially for saltwater fish. A good knowledge of natural history and behavior is also important, especially for those who want to keep a variety of fish in the same tank together.. Another important consideration is that many fish sold in pet stores are harvested from the wild. Care must be taken to select fish that do not contribute to the depopulation of wild species. Different fish require different habitat spaces - it is not true that fish will only grow to the size of their tanks. A large species of fish will get large no matter what and may require larger and larger tanks as it matures. Food and feeding style also varies greatly among fish. While regular vet visits are generally not recommended for fish due to the stress of travel, veterinary care is sometimes necessary, but hard to find. Depending on the species and set-up, caring for fish can be very cheap or very expensive, with goldfish being among the lower-maintenance fish and tropical, saltwater fish or very large fish being among the most expensive. Never release aquarium fish into rivers or streams, as they can become invasive or spread disease among native fish.

A rescue rodent or rabbit

A rescue rodent or rabbit

Rodents and rabbits are often available for adoption at local shelters!

Rabbits, and rodents, such as rats, mice, hamsters, and chinchillas, can be highly-interactive pets that require less space than dogs or cats. They can form strong bonds with their caretakers, provided they are properly socialized and handled gently in a way that does not frighten or stress them. They require regular veterinary care and must chew on hard items regularly to keep their teeth worn down. They reproduce quickly so males should be neutered or kept separate from females to avoid overpopulation. Hedgehogs, while not related to rabbits and rodents, have similar care and habits, and may also be suitable for caregivers who prefer small animals. Small mammals can be dusty and messy, and because of their high metabolism, they consume food often and quickly. Formulated pellet diets are available for most rabbits and rodents, as recommended by a veterinarian, but they also benefit from specialty items that can be hard to find. Chinchillas are among the most high-maintenance of popular pet rodents, as their needs are more specialized than rats, mice, and hamsters. Long-haired rabbits also require frequent grooming. Small animals can learn to bite if their body language is not properly understood or respected. Most rodents and rabbits live less than 10 years, but chinchillas frequently surpass that.

You should not get a pet yet

You should not get a pet yet

Your results from this quiz suggest you are not yet prepared to own a pet, or that your current petcare methods may need some improvement. Consider the following tips:

Consult a veterinarian that specializes in the type of pet you want to learn how to better provide for it. Certified animal rescue centers are also good places to find information about caring for your pet. Community-based internet sites, pet stores, and non-professionals (including friends and family) can be unreliable sources of information on pet care.

Dominance-based training techniques are the most dangerous and least efficient training techniques despite their wide use.

Wild animals do not make good pets. Avoid taking wild animals home to be pets, and never release a former pet into the wild. Some wild animals that are almost always ill-suited to be pets are primates, big cats, crocodilians, venomous animals, and birds of prey. Many governments have regulations banning or controlling the care and keeping of wild animals as pets.

Most animals should not be allowed roam freely outdoors, especially dogs or cats. Unsupervised pets can be injured or killed by criminals, cars, poisons, animals and other outdoor dangers, and they can damage the native ecosystems around your home.

Many animals require a huge commitment of time, space, money, and specialized care.

Never own a pet simply for protection or respect, or because you think it will talk or do funny tricks. If you select a pet in order for it to provide a service, you will lose interest in caring for it if it does not provide that service.

Children should not be solely responsible for a pet. Children's minds are growing and changing rapidly, and their interests are changing quickly as well. Adults are much more likely to be able to provide quality, lifelong care for a pet than a child. If you are a kid, or even a kid at heart, being the sole caretaker of a pet might not be the best option for you. Instead, work with your family to determine the best pet for all members of the household and share in its care, or volunteer at a local animal rescue or educational organization to gain experience without bringing an animal home. Additionally, children are less likely to know how to properly read and respect an animal's body language, which makes them more prone to being scratched or bitten by an animal than an experienced adult.