Playing Matchmaker: How Your Vet Can Help You Find the Right Pet

Pets at Vet

Not only are veterinarians privy to the nitty-gritty on certain breeds and their health care concerns, but the fact that we also see so many client-patient relationships means that we’re uniquely poised to make astute observations when it comes to the importance of a good “fit.” Over the years, watching owners make the same pet selection mistakes over and over again has been a major source of frustration for me. You’d be surprised to learn how often it happens that sedentary people select high-drive dogs, avid runners pick couch-potato pups, and large families with little kids choose delicate dogs over hardier breeds.

So I've devised this handy checklist of 10 key human and pet factors that my clients should consider before they get a critter:

The Human Time Factor

This definitely helps to weed out certain species. For example, it's no secret that dogs are not an ideal match for people who keep long office hours, erratic travel schedules and hectic social lives — unless their work lives and social milieu accept canine tagalongs.

The Human Lifestyle Factor

Kids, other pets, allergies, yard access and nearby parks all factor into a pet’s fit into a household. So a household’s defining features should always be compared to a list of the animal's defining features.

The Human Commitment Factor

A high degree of owner dedication can help push past plenty of lifestyle roadblocks, so I encourage my clients to ponder their true degree of commitment deeply.

The Human Money Factor

Some pets are more expensive than others. For example, don’t think for a second that you can get away with owning an English Bulldog without accruing a whole lotta vet bills. You might get lucky, but I wouldn’t bank on it. There’s also this to consider: As with high commitment levels, disposable cash means that lifestyle factor mismatches are likely to be less pressing — even the time factor can be largely mitigated by the presence of a well-padded wallet.


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