Pets are a wonderful thing. The idea that we have taken animals from the wild, turned them into smaller, more intelligent, more manageable versions of ourselves, for companionship purposes… in many ways it is quite mind-boggling. If you are thinking about continuing this tradition, but aren’t sure if the pet tags you buy should be bone or fish shaped, let the following guide help. Here are some of the biggest pros and cons to three of the most common types of pets you can have.
- Dogs: The Pros
If you are thinking about getting a puppy, you should know that you are letting someone into your life who will be loyal to the very end. Dogs have a strong tradition of living alongside humans, they have co-evolved with us for over 10,000 years, and show no signs of stopping. If companionship and closeness are what you are looking for in an animal friend, then a dog is probably the very best way to go.
- Dogs: The Cons
Dogs require a substantial amount of training to get them to the point where they understand the appropriate places to urinate, defecate, and how to control themselves around other dogs, and other creatures more broadly. Because we have bread them to be so intelligent, we also have a responsibility to direct that intelligence. If you are taking on a dog, you will have a creature that will obey so many commands, if you teach them how.
- Cats: The Pros
They might have four legs. They might have tails. They both might be mammals, but cats are a very different species to dogs. They do require some training in the area of toilet control, but because the urbanised domestic cat is usually a lot smaller than its canine counterpart, it can live much more easily inside, if they want to. Cats have a habit of being much more independent than dogs. The age-old expression is that dogs have masters, while cats have staff. A more feline friendly way of saying this could be that having a dog is like living next door to your best friend, while having a cat is like living with a roommate.
- Cats: The Cons
The independence of cats is something of a paradox. Though they will often not be as affectionate or close as dogs, they will become very demanding and expectant of things like getting fed. It is not something they are content to wait for, but instead will make sure you know when the time is. To some people this may be frustrating when they won’t sit still as long as you might expect for cuddles. Consider the independence of cats a double-edged sword. They will go out and come back when they want, but they will still expect care.
- Guinea Pigs: The Pros
Of the small rodent and exotic mammal collection of potential pets, the guinea pig perhaps has most of the pros that you really want in an animal companion. Unlike the hamster it is awake and active for a much larger and more reasonable percentage of the time, and its life span is something respectable. It is also a great way to teach children about the responsibilities of an animal without needing the level of active commitment of walks and other activities that a dog involves. They are also far more social than most people give them credit for, and will happily run about the floor with your children, or equally just sit cuddled up on your lap while watching television. They are affectionate in their own way and will make great additions to your home.
- Guinea Pigs: The Cons
While other animals may be large, guinea pigs are small, but that does not mean they do not need space. Guinea pigs require large cages to make sure that they have the space they need to run about and enjoy themselves when they are not being handled. They are social creatures, so you cannot simply buy just one, so you will need a large cage, although exactly how large will vary. That is permanent space either inside or outside your house that will need to be dedicated to them, space that will need cleaning. While cats need litter trays cleaning, and dogs have poopy bags, guinea pigs have bags upon bags of wood shavings and other items to clean out. This can be time consuming and messy, and you should go into this role very much with your eyes open.
Pets are a wonderful thing to have, and make a great addition to so many of our lives. Be very clear about what you are dealing with when you get involved with this though. A tiny little life is not something to let into your home lightly.