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Choosing a pet requires some research

POSTED: January 5, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Cup holders. You heard me: cup holders! A study several years ago revealed that one of the most important factors determining which SUV people chose to purchase was the number of cup holders. Not gas mileage. Not air bags. Not crash test safety. Cup holders.

Sometimes we miss the important aspects of a choice by focusing on what we perceive as essential. This sometimes happens in pet selection.

Do you want an aggressive guard dog? Don’t base your choice on Hollywood horror movies. Do real research. Pit Bulls are not the most reliable guard dog.

Do you want a bird dog? Just looking like the mural on an Eddie Bauer wall doesn’t guarantee your pet won’t be terrified of the sound of gunfire.

Do you want a dog to grow up with your kids? Unfortunately, a bulldog may not make it from kindergarten through middle school.

And if you have always dreamed of having a dog of a certain breed, I encourage you, pursue your dreams, but don’t do it blindly. Don’t get a dog you’ve seen a celebrity carry around in a purse if you’re not prepared to have it groomed and take care of its teeth. Do your research to make sure you know what the dog’s personality may be like.

And remember, these are only generalizations. I have seen aggressive golden retrievers.

And if you have furniture you can’t stand to even have a cat touch, much less run the risk of scratching it up, maybe reconsider the kitten. Cats have claws. Come from the mom that way. I resist convenience declawing because it’s a very painful and invasive procedure. If a human has a clotting disorder or is very frail, or the cat is so destructive that the declaw procedure is our only alternative to re-homing, then I understand.

But please, think about who your pet is. Not just what it is. Make sure you know how big a full grown Great Dane is. And how much exercise a Border Collie needs so his head won’t explode. Many breeds are beautiful, but not all breeds match all humans.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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