Picking The Right Pet
Too many pets wind up in shelters each year because prospective owners did not take behavioral training, healthcare, or bonding time into consideration. It is vital to keep your family situation, lifestyle, home space, financial resources, and even basic patience in mind when you choose a pet!
Reptile & Avian
Pocket Pets are smaller and a bit more "independent" than dogs or cats. However, they have shorter life spans, and require frequent/regular cage cleaning. They tend to require more specialized care and can even be illegal to own in some states and provinces. When deciding on owning a pocket pet, it is important to do your research and verify their legality with your local government before attempting to bring one home.
To help get your research started:
Gerbils: Similar in size to hamsters, gerbils are more active and social. Unlike hamsters, gerbils are happier when housed as a pair or in a small group.
Mice & Rats:
Reptiles & Avian Pets
Reptiles and birds require much more specialized care and investment in duplicating their "natural" diets and environments. Their general care and housing need to be specifically maintained, or these pets can become ill. Reptiles are more often "conversation pieces," but birds can be very interactive long-term companions, with some species living up to 30-40 years or more.
Reptiles include some of the most ancient species on earth and have undergone fascinating adaptations to allow them to survive on both land and water. Each species is unique, so it is important to do your research before adding a reptile to the family.
Selecting a Pet Reptile:
When choosing a pet bird it is important to realize each species not only varies in appearance, but also in their personality traits, and level of companionship. It is also important to be aware of the life span and commitment a bird entails.
Start your research here:
Dogs are inherently social pack animals. They need you to be home with them, and they need to go for walks for exercise, to relieve themselves, and to share quality time with you. Different types of dogs will need different levels of activity and stimulation; they'll have different attitudes and grooming requirements as well.
Your Stream Valley veterinary staff, the local library, and the internet (try the American Kennel Club http://www.akc.org or Dogster Magazine http://subscribe.dogster.com/ can be great resources for information that will help you choose the right dog for you.
When choosing to get a Puppy:
This is a nice starter guide of things that you should consider when you are thinking about getting a puppy:
A quick reference guide to many breeds of dogs, including photos and brief descriptions of each breed's characteristics:
Corkey Kennels: "Home of European and American Champion Bloodline Basset Hounds." Stream Valley Veterinary Hospital makes no guarantee regarding medical health, genetic perfection, or other suitability/fitness of these dogs. However, Corkey Kennels is the breeder for some of the pet patients in our practice.
Also check out our Pet Adoption Page and Featured Pet Blog
Rabbits may be considered a step up from pocket pets, and they are a bit more unusual for many households. Rabbits are generally more lovable than the average gerbil or mouse, but they do need more quality attention and frequent, careful habitat cleaning.
House Rabbit Society: is a non-profit organization working to rescue rabbits in need and to educate owners about proper care.
Ferrets are fun and curious little creatures, but that means they'll need quite a bit of playtime and stimulation. Like rabbits and pocket pets, ferrets need frequent cage care and maintenance.
Cats are much more self-sufficient than dogs, but that can mean less play or snuggle-bonding time, and of course, cats really aren't made to be good walking companions. If your family is busy with jobs, after-school activities, travel, etc., a cat may actually fit well into your home, as they don't require as much social time as dogs do.
Selecting a pet cat:
The Cat Fanciers' Association website has lots of pictures, as well as information on cat breeds, cat care, upcoming cat shows, and much more!
Other Informational Links!
Pet Lovers Companion: A - Z Directory of Products and Services, including local rescue and adoption groups, pet-friendly apartment communities, and pet supply shops.
HART--Homeless Animal Rescue Team: HART is a no-kill animal rescue/support group, incorporated in 1990, that takes in and fosters stray, abused, and unwanted dogs and cats. Whether the animal is a give-up or a stray, HART works with local veterinarians, trainers, foster homes, and kennels to provide temporary care for the pet until s/he is placed in a loving, carefully-screened forever home.
Humane Society of Loudoun County, Virginia: HSLC is a no-kill animal welfare organization founded in 1966 to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned, feral, and neglected animals from Loudoun County, Virginia. Its mission is to provide companion animals with a second chance and to work toward a time when all companion animals have loving homes. By visiting schools, retirement homes, and other public venues, we try to enrich people's lives with the magic of animals' unconditional love, and to teach humans the value of proper care and responsibility of beloved pets.
https://bestfriends.org/resources/choosing-pet: Sharing your life with an animal has great benefits and can bring you great joy. If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, it’s best to learn about the needs of different types of pets to find one that will best suit your lifestyle.