How to Choose the Right Pet

Family with worker choosing which dog to adopt from a shelter.

You just know it in your heart when you’re ready to welcome a new pet into your family and home. But you also know that there are critical resources like time, money and space that you will require in order to provide an ideal home for your furry companion

Different species and even different breeds of animals have very different social, environmental and physiological needs. No matter what kind of pet you choose, you want them to thrive in your home.  That’s why it’s important to really define your desired characteristics in a pet and investigate the resources and lifestyle that your prospective pet will need.

Determine the Resources You’re Willing to Allocate for Your Pet

A woman working with her cat


Be aware of the amount of time you can devote to caring for a pet, as it could change over the course of the animal’s life. You don’t have to worry; there are still animals that are suitable for whatever time you have available. If your situation is uncertain, think about fostering an animal from a shelter or rescue organization.


Some animals prefer to run or wander across a large territory while others are most comfortable in a cozy den with their favorite human companion. Some pets can master stairs with no problems, while others may have mobility challenges. Whether you live in a small 10th floor condo or an expansive acreage, you will need to make sure you choose a pet that will feel at home in your habitat. When evaluating your space, don’t forget to consider the size of the animal, their exercise needs and the space required for any bedding, equipment or supplies.


It is essential to prepare ahead of time for the costs that come with owning a pet. These costs include the fee for adoption or purchasing, food, toys, training, residence, grooming, and medical care. You should also plan for additional costs that may arise, such as medical emergencies or boarding fees. Pet insurance can help reduce the cost of eligible vet bills by up to 90%. It is important to do your research before deciding to get a pet.

Evaluate the Type of Lifestyle That’ll Best Suit You and Your Pet

Family spending time with their dogs

Energy Level

Considering the energy level of a prospective pet is an important part of making sure that they’ll fit in well with your family. A high-energy pet will be hard to keep happy and occupied if you live a quiet, low-key lifestyle. Similarly, a laid-back or passive animal may be overwhelmed by an energetic owner.  Decide whether you want to hit the trails or cuddle on the couch with your pet and choose a species and breed that will naturally enjoy your preferred speed.


Think about some of your favourite activities. Do you want your pet to be included? What will they do if they can’t go with you? Are they comfortable spending time alone? Some animals, like Labradors, are well suited for pastimes like camping or hiking. Others, like cats, don’t mind spending a day or two home alone while you travel. Make sure you choose a pet that won’t hamper your ability to work or play in the way that you find most fulfilling.

Children and Other Pets

Introducing a new pet can often enrich the lives of kids and other animals in the household.  Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where mixing new pets with existing household members can be unsuccessful or even dangerous for everyone involved. A nervous dog may not be suitable for a home with children and a budgie may not be safe in a home with cats. Make sure that any new additions will be safe and compatible with all people and animals in the home. 

Reflect on What You’re Looking For in a Pet

A woman feeding cats at home

Take some time to understand exactly why you want a pet.  Do you want companionship?  Do you yearn to care for something? Do pets play a role in your social or fitness goals? Is rescuing from animal shelters important to you? 

Once you’ve evaluated your resources, your lifestyle, and your pet relationship goals, make a list of your priorities before you start the pet search.

Breed clubs and local animal shelters often provide online resources that give you excellent descriptions of different pets’ needs, personalities, and energy levels. You can even find out the average yearly cost of care for common breeds of dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

For in-depth information, head to your local library and check out a book about your favourite animal and breed. Thoroughly evaluate the lifestyle and resources you will be able to offer a pet. Resist the temptation to choose a pet based on appearance, popularity, or even their need for a home. If your favourite breed’s physiological and social needs don’t match your household, both you and the pet may be in for a rough ride. 

After bringing a pet into your home, you should be prepared for anything. Even if your pet is the ideal fit, they can still develop an unexpected illness or have a sudden accident. To help manage veterinary costs and help give your pet the best possible care, consider getting pet insurance. Allstate members receive preferred pricing with Pets Plus Us Insurance. Get a quote today.

This blog was written by Pets Plus Us on behalf of Allstate Canada. This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice. Allstate does not control or guarantee the accuracy of any content on any third-party site.  Allstate is not responsible for the privacy practices of any third-party site.

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