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.

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How to decide which type of pet is right for your family

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How to decide which type of pet is right for your family

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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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Wrangler, our puppy with a purpose, celebrates 1 year on TODAY

Play Video - 3:22

Wrangler, our puppy with a purpose, celebrates 1 year on TODAY

Play Video - 3:22

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