Pets & Animals

Ultimate pet guide: Find the perfect fit for your family

Wrangler, TODAY's puppy with a purpose, has brought enormous joy to Studio 1A each day — so much so that he's inspired many of us to want our own animal companion.

Pets can be incredibly fun and rewarding, but not all types are suitable for every lifestyle.

Andrea Arden from Animal Planet stopped by Studio 1A to share a few helpful tips to help you find the perfect pet for your family.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Wrangler, TODAY's 'puppy with a purpose'

What to consider when choosing the right pet for your family:

  • How much care will the pet require, and do you have the time necessary to meet their needs?

  • What is the pet's average life-span?

  • What is the general cost of a specific type of animals yearly care?

  • How will the pet fit into your family's dynamic and lifestyle?

  • Do you have enough space in your home for the pet to live and exercise?

  • Do you have another pet? If so, how do you think it will get along with a new pet?

  • Are you looking for an animal that adores ongoing attention or are you okay with an animal that thrives on some alone time?

When thinking about getting a dog, consider these points:

  • Think about the time needed for walking, feeding and providing playtime.

  • There's a commitment to early and ongoing training.

  • Don't select a dog based off looks! Instead, go for pet personality.

  • Make sure the breed you choose fits your family dynamic by doing research. (Chihuahuas are adorable, but generally not suited to families with small children.)

  • Some of the very large breeds, such as a Great Dane or Saint Bernard, don't necessarily need as much space or exercise as you may think. A large greyhound can be a "couch potato," while a small terrier needs space to play and run.

  • Initial costs: Adoption fee cost $50-$350. Additional expenses include a crate, $50-$100 and training at $100-$500. Expect the first year to cost about $1,270.

RELATED: Labrador retriever tops American Kennel Club's list of top breeds in America

When thinking about getting a cat, consider these points:

  • They typically tolerate alone time when you're at work or school better than many dogs.

  • Some may require a lot more attention than others.

  • They are instinctual hunters and can do damage to your furniture and house.

  • The myth, "I can get a cat and just let it be," is not true. Cats are very social and can suffer from behavioral problems if they don't get the attention they need.

  • They're party animals when you most want to sleep, but you can help them adjust more to your schedule.

  • The first year will cost about $1,070.

When thinking about getting a parrot, consider these points:

  • They require a lot of attention.

  • They can be quite noisy and produce large amounts of dust.

  • Generally the larger the parrot type, the longer they live. They call parrots "willing pets" as they can live for a very long time. (Small parrots can live 8 to 14 years, while large parrots live 35 to 60 years.)

  • They can be amazing companion animals and are often as much fun as they are work. However, because they are so social and intelligent, they demand a huge amount of time, attention and mental stimulation to thrive, including about two to five hours of interaction outside of their cage each day.

  • It's as important to take the time to train a parrot properly.

  • Cost: The initial purchase will be $300-$3000. A cage will cost $60-$1000, and other accessories (bowls, toys, perches, nail clippers) will cost $100-$500.

RELATED: New York City matchmaker specializes in finding you the perfect furry friend

When thinking about getting a guinea pigs, consider these points:

  • They are gentle animals, produce little dander and are economical.

  • Their life-span of 5 to 8 years is shorter than many other animal.

  • They are often easier to care for than fish!

  • It would be best to get two, as they do better with a companion.

  • Consider active hours: They are more active (thus, noisier) at dawn and dusk.

  • Cost: adoption: $5-$50, housing: $30-300, bedding: $10, water bottle and bowl: $20-$40, grass hay: $10, pellet food: $15, vegetables: $25.

When thinking about getting a fish, consider these points:

  • They are beautiful to look at, add a sense tranquility to a room and are often thought to have a calming effect on people.

  • Some are relatively easy to care for, but they do require a regular aquarium cleaning.

  • Consider the size of the aquarium you will need.

  • They seem relatively inexpensive compared to other animals at first, but many people end up spending more money long-term on supplies. (Consider the cost of the tank, gravel, light, plants, heater, filter, ammonia test kits, etc.)

  • The easiest fish to care for: guppies in a small, freshwater tank.

  • The hardest fish to care for: those that require a saltwater tank. (They can be expensive and require much more time and attention.)

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