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5 Tips for Choosing a New Pet

With studies reporting that pets reduce stress, combat depression and even lower the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease, there is no wonder the popularity of pets remains strong. For families looking to add their first, or a new, pet into the home, selecting a dog or another pet that’s a good match is paramount.

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Pets are a great addition to any family as long as you pick one suited to your lifestyle.

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1. Take a close look at your family's lifestyle.

1. Take a close look at your family’s lifestyle.

Is your family very active? Or do you prefer to stay indoors?  Are other pets already in the home? Whether you prefer a lap dog or a hiking companion, there’s a perfect dog for you but you’ll want to research a suitable breed.

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2. Determine how much time you have to spend with a pet.

2. Determine how much time you have to spend with a pet.

Do you work long hours or travel out of town often?  Be realistic about the time you can devote to a new pet and take advantage of pet care assistance.  Professional pet sitters can offer daily visits, as well as vacation sits, to ensure your pet receives care and attention in your absence.

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3. Check your budget to ensure a pet is affordable.

3. Check your budget to ensure a pet is affordable.

According to the 2007-2008 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog owners exceeded $1400.  This total includes all pet-related expenses, including veterinary visits, pet care and food and treats.

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4. Hire a professional pet sitter.

4. Hire a professional pet sitter.

PSI-member pet sitters perform more than 17.4 million pet-sitting engagements annually.  This first-hand experience enables them to advise you on breed selection, as well as preparing your home for the arrival of a new pet. You may need pet sitters for when you go vacation, so check for professinal sitting locations in your area.

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5. When in doubt, ask a pro.

5. When in doubt, ask a pro.

Where can an everyday families turn for advice on pet-related decisions? The answer may be as close as their local pet sitter.

“These dedicated professionals spend a lot of time with pets and pet owners, likely more than any other professional in the pet industry,” says Patti Moran, president of  Pet Sitters International (PSI). “Their familiarity with their clients’ pets and families make them well-suited to offer advice on decisions such as bringing a new pet into the home.”

Theresa Hunter, owner of the Texas-based All Creatures Great and Small Pet Sitting  often consults with families looking to introduce a new dog into their home.  Hunter encourages families to closely examine their lifestyle and what they would like to be able to do with the dog, from simply having a good family pet to one that can participate in showing, agility or ability demonstrations.

“Bringing a new pet into the home goes beyond selecting a suitable breed, however,” explains Hunter. “A new pet means training and housebreaking issues and families should have a plan to address these needs and what will work best for them.”

Courtesy of Pet Sitters International (PSI)