Playing with pets is the fondest childhood memory of most pet owners. Pet animals bring joy and companionship to our every day life.
What’s more, pet animals offer us unconditional love and many health benefits. It’s no wonder that 70% of US households welcomed pets into their families in 2022.
Source: American Pet Products Association
But pet are living, breathing creatures needing serious commitment and care. Therefore, before you take the leap and bring a pet home, you need to understand all about pet ownership.
Are you considering pet adoption? Then, you’re in the right place. This ultimate guide to pets will help you navigate the wonderful world of pet animals.
Discover everything from the types of pets, how to adopt a pet, pet health care, and even pet insurance in this guide.
So, let’s dive into the exotic and beautiful world of pets.
What Are Pets?
Pets are animals people live with for companionship and pleasure rather than for utility.
Humans keep many domesticated animals by themselves. Some for labor and research, and some for livestock. But we keep pet only for love and friendship.
Some animals, like dogs, horses, and cats, can share the bond of companionship with their owners. Hence, pet ownership is a relationship that benefits both the owner and the pet.
Sometimes pets also act as protectors of our homes and property. Additionally, pet can also serve as a helping hand to senior or disabled people.
History of Pets
Pets and pet ownership have a long history that goes back as far as prehistoric times. Throughout human history, pets have played an integral role in our life.
Human-animal companionship first began by domesticating wild animals. Surprisingly, the first animal that was domesticated was none other than the wolf!
If you didn’t know, wolves are the ancestors of all current dogs. This transition happened about 12 to 14 thousand years ago in prehistoric times.
Then came our favorite furry friends – dogs. People have kept dogs as their pet since prehistoric times.
Ancient Greeks and Romans are also known for keeping dogs as pet animals. In addition, they kept baboons, lions, Nile geese, monkeys, and hyenas as a pet.
Next, cats entered the pet world around 16 BC. After that, horses followed in early 2000 BC.
Additionally, pet ownership gained popularity in British society throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. But pet animals were a sign of aristocracy in those days. By the end of the 19th century, pet became a common part of middle-class families too.
So, that is how pet animals entered our lives. They continue to spread positivity and companionship to this day.
Benefits of Having Pets
Pet can have a positive effect on your health and well-being. With the obvious benefit of companionship, pet animals offer many more benefits to their owners.
The benefits of pets at home can be divided into two main categories:
- Physical Health Benefits
- Mental Health Benefits
Physical Health Benefits
Pet ownership offers us many physical health benefits. From reaching our exercise goals to improving our immunity, pets have a positive effect on our overall physical health.
Pets can help you reach your daily exercise goals. Pet owners tend to be super active as they get more movement throughout the day.
Pets expose you to varieties of germs. As a result, your immune system gets tough by fighting them. Babies that grow with pets tend to have fewer allergies and a stronger immune system.
Helps Children Learn
Taking care of pets teaches children responsibility. Moreover, pet ownership also helps them grow emotionally and socially.
Pets like dogs can protect your home. They can alert you in case of intruders. Additionally, pets are known to save children from day-to-day accidents.
Increases Happy Hormones
Pet animals always lift our mood. No matter how hard of a day you’ve had, cuddling your pet can make you happy. What’s more, being with pets reduces stress and increases oxytocin or happy hormones.
Helps Functional Needs People
Service pets can help people with disabilities or functional needs. They are trained specially to aid their owner in times of physical distress. Also, service pets help owners emotionally.
Structured & Routined Life
Having a pet forces you to follow a structured life. Even if you don’t follow rules for other things, just taking good care of your pet will get your life into a routine.
Mental Health Benefits
Pets can reduce symptoms of many mental health problems. They lift up our mood and help reduce the hardships of day to day life.
Pets keep us company. They remove the feeling of loneliness and make our hearts full. Most adults get pets to have this precious feeling of companionship.
Pets are known to reduce anxiety levels. People with chronic anxiety have fewer attacks when they are with their pets. Additionally, pets help overcome social anxiety and make you confident.
Lower Stress Levels
Pets can provide similar benefits like fidget spinners. Stroking and cuddling with your pet can reduce stress levels. In addition, pets lower blood pressure and make you calmer.
Increases Social Circle
Pets make you go out more. As a result, you meet new people, and your social circle increases. So, pets help you make new friends.
Why Pets Are Important?
Nothing beats the joy of coming home to a loyal pet buddy. Pet are important for humans in more than one way.
Many studies over the years have proved pet animals can improve our health. How?
A pet can reduce stress by taking away loneliness and providing constant companionship. Additionally, people having pet animals are proven to have better heart health.
What’s more, pets for kids help in learning emotional and developmental skills faster. So, pet are significant for ensuring children have a joyful, healthy childhood.
Besides, pets at home can reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Moreover, it can lower anxiety and PTSD symptoms. To enjoy these and more benefits, pet animals are important.
Characteristics of Pets
Nowadays, pet are not limited to only cats, dogs, and hamsters. You’ll see people keeping a variety of exotic pets.
But what differentiates an animal of the wild from a household pet? Certain characteristics of pet animals distinguish them from wild animals.
So, it’s important you understand what characteristics are normal for pets at home.
Here are some characteristics of pet animals:
- Lives in your home
- Dependent on humans
- Need veterinarian care
- Pet can be trained
- Can not survive in the wilderness
- Need affection and companionship
Types of Pets
People keep hundreds of different types of pets all over the world. Hence, picking the right fit for your family can be quite overwhelming.
But, to make sure you choose the right pet friend, you must learn to differentiate between types of pet animals.
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the types of pets:
- Small wild animals
- Large wild animals
Domesticated pet are animals that have learned to coexist in harmony with humans. Most of us choose domesticated animals when picking out our pets.
Furthermore, there are several types of pets in the domesticated category too. Let’s learn about them:
This category includes the largest types of pets. So many types of pets fall under this category that mammals are further divided into three types:
- Small Mammals
- Medium Mammals
- Large Mammals
Fishes are one of the most popular types of pets in the world. They are easier to take care of and take up less space than other pet animals. Besides, these tiny pet friends swimming in a jar of water can bring us immense joy.
There are about 30,000 thousand types of fish in the world.
Source: How Many Fishes Are in The World?
But not all of them can be kept as pet. Pet fishes are categorized based on the type of water they live in:
- Freshwater Fish
- Brackish Water Fish
- Saltwater Fish
People have kept birds as their favorite companions for hundreds of years. There are so many types of birds that you’ll definitely find one that suits your personality.
Birds are so popular as pet animals that about five billion birds are kept as pets in the US alone.
Source: Birds Kept As Pets
Pet birds are categorized based on their size. The common sizes are:
- Extra Small Birds
- Small Birds
- Medium Birds
- Large Birds
- Extra Large Birds
While most of us try to get bugs out of our homes as soon as we spot them, many people welcome arthropods as pets. Among five to ten million species of arthropods, humans have welcomed many into their lives.
Arthropods can be complicated pets and need specific environments to survive as pets. In many states, keeping arthropods as pet animal is illegal.
So, if you are a beginner in keeping pet animals, arthropods should not be your first choice.
Still, these are the most common categories of arthropod pets:
- Bees & Beetles
Amphibians are popular pets due to their vibrant colors and exotic appearance. But, caring for amphibian pets requires a lot of dedication.
These pets need a very specific environment to survive and can get sick easily. So, keep this in mind while choosing an amphibian pet for your family.
The most common amphibian pets fall under three main categories:
Reptiles have mesmerized and terrified humans forever. But recently, they have gained much popularity as pets.
Each reptile is unique and comes with specific needs. While some reptiles love being handled, others may become stressed with contact.
So, choose wisely when picking out your new reptile friend.
Most reptile pets can be divided into these broad categories:
Wild pet or exotic pets are wild animals that are kept in captivity at home. Keeping wild animals as pet is illegal in many countries. Also, this practice can be harmful to both the pet and the caregiver.
You can divide wild pet into similar categories as domesticated pets. The only difference is these pet have not learned to live with humans with love and affection.
But, you must keep in mind these are indeed wild animals. No matter how exotic and attractive they may seem, they may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Wild pets can be divided into two broad categories such as:
- Smaller Wild Animals
- Larger Wild Animals
What Falls Under Pet Ownership?
Now that you’ve gotten a better idea about the different types of pets. Let’s get an overview of what else falls under pet ownership:
- Pet Adoption
- Pet Insurance
- Pet Health
- Pet Grooming
- Pet Food
- Pet Accessories (Pet Supplies)
- Pet Training
- Pet Protection Legislation
According to ASPCA, about 6.3 million pet animals annually enter the animal shelter.
Source: Pet Statistics
If you adopt a pet, you’ll give these companion animals a home again. Pet you get from pet adoption centers are already accustomed to humans. As a result, they will face less difficulty adjusting to your family.
So, visit pet animal shelters and adoption websites to find your perfect pet. The ASPCA, Petco, PetSmart, and Petfinder are a few of the most well-known pet adoption organizations.
Want to know more about pet adoption? Check out this pet adoption ultimate guide.
Pet insurance is essentially a health care policy targeted towards your pet. You can get reimbursement for specific pet health expenses from the pet insurance.
You may consider pet insurance unnecessary. But statistics say 1 in 3 pets need emergency health care every year. And such emergency health services can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500.
Source: Pet Health Statistics
Pet insurance can help you manage such costs and protect your pet. But not all pet insurance is made the same.
You must understand and consider these crucial factors while choosing a pet insurance policy:
- Choose the Pet Insurance
- Accident Only Plan
- Accident and Illness Plan
- Preventative Care or Routine Wellness Plan
- Breed-Specific Health Risks
- What Pet Insurance Covers?
- What Doesn’t Pet Insurance Cover?
- Which Pet Can Get Insurance?
- Pet Insurance Cost
To know about pet insurance in detail, check out the Pet Insurance Ultimate Guide.
Pet Health Guide
Owning a pet can be exciting and intimidating. But, pets are entirely dependent on us for their health and well-being. So, before you bring new pet home, you must learn how to care for them properly.
Basically, each pet will need specific types of care. But here are the basics of maintaining good pet health:
- Choose a Pet Suitable to Your Lifestyle
- Pet Identification
- Pet Need Healthy Food
- Don’t Over Feed
- Fresh Drinking Water
- Comfortable Shelter
- Proper Hygiene & Grooming
- Exercise & Play Time
- Regular Vet Visit
- Pet Safety
Learn more about how to ensure optimal health for your pet in this – Pet Health Guide.
Pet grooming is the process where professional pet groomers properly clean pets. This process is essential to maintain your pet’s overall health and hygiene.
Pet grooming can include hair cutting, nail trimming, eye & ear cleaning, and dental hygiene. In essence, pet grooming is a method where everything that’s required to keep your pet clean and healthy is done.
There are many benefits of pet grooming apart from just cleanliness. Regular grooming helps detect early signs of sickness too. So, make sure to groom your pet frequently.
Also, there are professional pet groomers for every type of pet. Take help from them if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.
To know about pet insurance in details, check out the Pet Grooming Ultimate Guide.
Feeding your pet good quality pet food in the right amount is crucial for keeping them healthy.
Pet food is specific foods marketed for consumption by pets or domestic animals. Most pet foods are byproducts of the human food industry.
Also, different pets require different types of pet food. For example, dog food completely differs from what you’d feed aquarium fish.
So, learning what food is right for your pet before bringing it home is crucial. Learn what is included in your pet’s diet and source pet food from trusted pet shops.
Want to know more about pet food? Check out this pet food guide!
Pets need more than just food and shelter. Pet accessories are a must to keep your pet healthy, happy, and always in shape.
While different pet will need different accessories, some items are the same for all pet. Here’s a list of pet accessories you must get:
- Pet Supplements
- Pet Bedding & Furniture
- Pet First-Aid Kit
- Pet Treats
- Grooming Supplies
- Cleaning Supplies
- Odor and Stain Remover
- Pet Carrier
- Harness, Collar, or Leash
- Pet Toys
- Pet Cages or Crates
- Poop Disposal
To know about pet supplies in details, check out the Complete Guide to Pet Supplies.
The key to a good pet is a well-trained pet. Pet training is defined as the method of training pet animals. Additionally, this includes teaching the pet to provide specific responses to conditions or stimulations.
No, pet training doesn’t mean only dog training. Almost all kinds of pets can be trained to show specific behavior. However, different pets may need different commands or methods of pet training.
Here are the common methods of pet training:
- Positive Reinforcement
- Negative Reinforcement
- Positive Punishment
- Negative Punishment
- Stimuli Control
- Motivating Operations
Learn more about successful pet training in this Pet Training Guide.
Pet Protection Legislation
Many laws about pet ownership have been passed to ensure pet safety. Moreover, these laws also help maintain the environmental balance. But, pet laws vary based on states and countries.
Therefore, before you go ahead and bring a pet home, make sure it’s legal in your state.
Mainly there are laws for:
- Pet Ownership
- Pet Species Limitations
- Pet Killing & Eating
Things to Consider Before Getting Pets
Adopting a pet can be a highly gratifying experience. But choosing a pet can be a difficult decision.
After all, how do you decide which pet is good for you and your family?
Pet depend on their owner for their health and well-being. Therefore, choosing the wrong pet can harm both you and the life you are bringing home.
So, you must conduct thorough research before selecting a pet.
Here are the most important things you must consider before getting a pet:
- Veterinarian Advice
How to Adopt Pets
If you’ve decided to adopt a pet, then you need to learn all the steps required to adopt a pet.
Pet adoption requirements can vary depending on which organization you are adopting from. Moreover, some places have more strict pet adoption rules than others.
Get a general idea of what the pet adoption procedure may include:
- Ensure the organization is credible
- Visit the animal shelter or pet shop
- Consult a pet counselor
- Choose the pet
- Family Meet and Greet
- Submit an application
- Interview with shelter staff
- Home Visit
- Age Requirement
- Valid Identification
- Adoption Fee
- Take Your Pet Home
How to Prepare Your Home for New Pets
Once you’ve decided on the pet, it’s time to ensure your home is ready for the new member. Pet ownership is a challenging task.
You need to take proper steps to make your home pet friendly. Your choice of pet will determine the measures you need to take.
Here are the general steps you must take to prepare your home for pet animals:
- Get Pet Supplies
- Pet Food
- Food and Water Bowls
- Pet Toys
- Pet Carrier
- Prepare Pet Living Space
- Get Pet Identification
- Pet-Proof The Home
- Set Up Family Rules
- Get an Air Purifier
- Schedule a Veterinarian Visit
- Apply for Pet Insurance
Costs of Owning Pets
Pet ownership can be quite expensive. From adopting the pet to caring for them, you may have to spend around $400 to $4000 in the first year.
Therefore, if you don’t budget properly, many extra costs may sneak up on you.
Here’s a list of expenses you need to take into account:
- Adoption or Purchasing Fees
- Spay Neuter Surgery
- Pet Registration
- Shelter Setup
- Initial Supplies
- Pet Food
- Vet Visits
- Toys & Treats
- Pet Insurance
- Preventative Treatment
Most Popular Pets
There are so many pet types around the world that it can be mind-boggling. But which pets are the most popular?
Take a look at the most popular pets around the world. It will give you better insights into the types of pets people enjoy living with the most and why.
Also, choosing a popular pet means easier access to pet supplies and healthcare.
Here are the most common and popular pet around the world:
- Guinea Pig
Best Exotic Pets
Even though dogs and cats are the most popular pet animals, the pet world is much more diverse. More and more people are venturing out of the common grounds and taking in exotic pets.
Exotic pets are animals that are rare and part of the wild species. But, the definition of exotic is not set in stone. Some pet can be considered exotic for their unique looks in spite of coming from a common species.
The laws about exotic pets are more strict. So, make sure your state allows taking in the exotic pet you are considering.
Exotic pets can be divided into categories too:
- Rodents and Weasels
- Insects and Arachnids
Best Pets for Kids
Growing up with a pet can be rewarding for children. Additionally, a well-chosen pet can teach children valuable life lessons and bring years of joy.
But when selecting pets for kids, you need to be extra cautious. Is your child ready to care for a pet animal? If not, the pet you welcome into the home may suffer too.
The pet you choose must match your kid’s personality and the family’s convenience.
Age is the first thing to consider when picking out the best pets for kids. Pet that’ll be great for your kindergartener might be awful for your toddler.
Here are some of the best pets for kids based on age:
Ages 4 to 7
- Crested Gecko
Ages 8 to 15
- Guinea Pigs
- Bearded Dragons
Traveling with Pets
Thinking of bringing your pet on your latest vacation? Indeed, bringing your pet friends to vacations can increase the joy of holidays.
Follow our tips for ensuring a safe and comfortable trip for your pet:
- Cross-Country or Across the States?
- Ensure Pet Is Allowed Where You’ll Be Staying
- Decide Travel Means
- By Air
- By Sea
- By Car
- By Train
- Pre-Travel Vet Visit
- Update Identification Tags
- Get a Pet Carrier
- Pack Pet Necessities
- Ensure Pet Safety & Comfort
How to Stay Healthy Around Pets
Pets bring untold joy and many health benefits to our lives. But it’s important to remember they come with certain health risks too.
To make sure your family stays safe from such health hazards, follow these tips to stay healthy around your pet:
- Keep The Pet Healthy
- Maintain Good Pet Hygiene
- Regular Pet Grooming
- Wash Your Hands
- Teach Children Proper Behavior Around the Pet
- Don’t Bring in Wild Animals
Disadvantages of Having Pets
Everything has two sides in this world. Similarly, pet ownership is not without its cons.
Unfortunately, new pet owners often get so excited about having a pet that they forget to consider the cons beforehand.
Are you considering adding a pet to your family?
Check out the disadvantages of having pets first:
- Higher Living Cost
- Constant Chaos
- Time Consumption
- High Healthcare Cost
- Traveling Becomes Difficult
- Bad Effects on Pet Health
- Bad Effects on Caregivers’ Health
- Environmental Impacts
A pet can become our life long friend. This ultimate guide to pets has covered everything you need to know about pet and pet keeping.
Now that you know all about pets, choose your pet friend wisely. Always make sure the pet you are choosing will be a good fit for you and your family.
Hopefully, this ultimate guide to pets has answered all your queries about pet animals and pet ownership. If you have further questions, check out these commonly asked questions about pets.
An excellent first pet is basically something that is easier to take care of. Small lizards, birds, bearded dragons, guinea pigs, betta fish, and hamsters are good first pet.
Among the hundreds of types of pets available worldwide, few are self-cleaning. The cleanest pet are cats, budgies, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, betta fish, green anole, and dogs.
Budgies, hamsters, guinea pigs, corn snakes, bearded dragons, and fish, are generally easy to care for.
Tortoises, parrots, horses, geckos, koi fish, goldfish, umbrella cockatoos, box turtles, cats, and snakes live the longest.
Service animals are animals trained to perform tasks or assist people with health conditions or disabilities.
Horses, monkeys, birds, and many other animals can be trained as service animals. But the most popular service animal is a service dog or therapy dog.
Pet photography is a type of photography that specializes in taking pictures of people’s pets. This type of photography captures the pet’s personality, habits, and character.
Every pet owner considers their pet to be the cutest. However, the cutest pet, according to the golden ratio, are cats, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, and dogs.
Pet quality and show quality are labels that breeders attach to their dogs.
A dog being of pet quality means it is unsuitable for breeding or the show ring.
On the other hand, show quality means the dog is of breeding quality and suitable for show rings.
Small rodents, ferrets, birds, snakes, iguanas, frogs, and other reptiles are the worst pets for kids.
Mainly because these pet need more care and don’t appreciate human touch much. Also, such pet can be harmful to kids, and children can cause harm to the pet too.
Grooming offers more health benefits beyond keeping your pet looking and smelling clean. Pet grooming includes brushing coats, trimming coats, bathing, nail clipping, eye & ear cleaning, and dental hygiene.
Hermit crabs, goldfish, budgies, geckos, guinea pigs, betta fish, sea monkeys, butterflies, rats, and ants are the cheapest animals to own.
Cats and dogs are the friendliest pets to own. Besides, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, cockatoos, sugar gliders, and skunks are also friendly.
Border Collies breed from dogs, and Sphynx from cats are the smartest pets. Also, birds, primates, pigs, rats, horses, raccoons, and squirrels are intelligent pets.
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