Picking the Perfect Pet

Whether you’re a couple with kids or a kid-like couple, we’ve got the perfect pet for every pair!

What kind of couple are you?
Identify your couple type below then read on to find the pet that best suits your lifestyle:

1. Outdoor/Energetic Couple: You’re free spirits at heart and need a pet that’s active and even exotic.
2. Working City Couple: With demanding careers, you need a low-maintenance, independent pet. (Tip: getting two of the same pet may help the little critters keep each other company.)
3. Apartment Couple: Chances are there’s just enough room for the both of you, so your pet should be small or low-energy.
4. House Couple: You’ll have more room to deal with for a larger or more active pet.
5. Have Kids Couple: You’ll need a pet that’s not only kid-friendly, but childproof, too!
6. Love-to-Travel Couple: A pet that can survive those lonely nights on its own with very little help is ideal, as is one that’s easy to pet-sit.

Best suited for: Outdoor/Energetic Couple; Honourable Mention: Have Kids Couple.Cost to buy: Varies with breed, but expect to shell out anywhere from $500 to $2000 if you’re buying from a breeder. Adopting is a less expensive option. Life Expectancy: Dogs live for an average of between 10 to 12 years. Maintenance Costs: Generally, a dog can cost you $60 to $235 per month ($700 to $3,000 a year), which includes food, toys and DIY or professional grooming. Be prepared to take your dog at least once or twice to the vet every year (at a cost of $100 to $300 annually). Demand Level: Low-to-high. Again, depends on breed and size. For example, an Irish Wolfhound is more demanding than the smaller, low-energy Bolognese. But size doesn’t always equal energy: Labs need more exercise than the smaller cocker spaniel. Kid-friendly dogs include Golden Retrievers, Beagles and Boxers.

Best suited for: Working Couple; Honourable Mention: Love-to-Travel Couple. Cost to buy: Buying cats from a shelter is definitely a cheaper alternative than the pet store and they usually already come spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Shelter cats can cost between $50 to $100. Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years. Maintenance Costs: Taking in litter, food, vet visits and spaying/neutering (if needed) the first year of owning a cat can cost anywhere from under $700 to over $1,000—with costs of $500 to over $1,000 for every year after that. Demand Level: Low-to-medium. Independent by nature, cats pounce to the beat of their own drum. Persians, American and British shorthairs have a lower energy level, while Siamese and Cornish rexes are active kitties.

Best suited for: House Couple; Honourable Mention: Outdoor/Energetic Couple. Cost to buy: Costs can range from under $20 (for Budgies) to over $1,000 for more exotic breeds (Cockatoos, Macaws). Life Expectancy: Differs with species. Birds can live from 20 to 50 years—so taking care of one is usually a life-long commitment. Maintenance Costs: Smaller birds will cost less to care for than their bigger counterparts. Budget $25 per month on food (including seeds, fruits and veggies) for smaller birds and about $100 for larger. Cages will run $250 to $1000. Birds also need annual check-ups from specialized vets. Demand Level: High. Some breeds (like parakeets) are very noisy, messy and can even be destructive—they’ll chew everything, including electrical cords! Birds need to fly daily: They’ll need a flight safe room (i.e. covered windows and mirrors, no cats/dogs, no ceiling fans, etc.).

Best suited for: Outdoor/Energetic Couple; Honourable Mention: Working Couple. Cost to buy:Low. Common Lops (droopy-earred bunnies) are usually under $20, while the more exotic Angora range from about $25 to $50. Life Expectancy: A properly-cared for indoor rabbit lives seven to 10 years while some go well into their “teens.” Maintenance Costs: Budget $40 per month for food and litter. Finding a skilled rabbit vet can be hard and vet vaccinations/check-ups can cost hundreds of dollars. Cages cost from $35 to $120. Rabbit-proofing your pad is also a must, as bunnies will chew at everything (wires, plants, carpets). Demand Level: Medium. Rabbits are clean (and can even be trained to use their litter boxes like cats), but they require several hours of out-of-cage exercise each week. Toys (like an untreated grass mat and plastic baby keys) also keep your pet stimulated.

Best suited for: Apartment Couple; Honourable Mention: Travel Couple. Cost to buy: On average less than $5. Most barbs (e.g. tiger barbs), tetras and guppies are good starter fish. (Tip: Be sure to only add fish of the same relative size to the same tank so they don’t each other!) Life Expectancy: Between one to three years for freshwater fish (goldfish), and two to four years for saltwater fish (seahorses, gobies, butterfly fish). Maintenance Costs: Food is usually around $10, but aquariums range from around $20 to $100. Demand Level: Low-to-medium. Fish don’t take up too much of your time, but demand more of your care and space.

Best suited for: Outdoor/Energetic Couple; Honourable Mention: Apartment Couple. Cost to buy: Inexpensive compared to other pets–under $10 and up to $50. Life Expectancy: Depends on type. Reptiles can live from five to over 40 years. Maintenance Costs: Reptiles require a lot to mimic their natural habitats to keep them alive. Between such expenses as heavy enclosures and special lighting, you’re looking at over $200 for equipment. Food and vet checkups can also be pricy and hard to locate. Demand Level: Medium-to-high. Care and space are more of an issue with reptiles than spending quality time with them.

Image(s): iStock

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