Things You Will NeedNone
The fist step is to consider your lifestyle. Are you active, exercise a lot, have time and a yard or are you very sedentary and live in an apartment or condo? Do you want a dog to go hunting, for protection, a companion for you or a pet for your children to play with?
Next research the type of dog or other animal that best fits your lifestyle and the purpose for having a pet. If you are active, then the higher energy breeds such as Border Collies, Brittany Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers and Labrador Retrievers might be the perfect match for you. If you are sedentary these would probably be too much for you to handle. If you want a dog for hunting, then pointers or site hounds may be perfect. Protection dogs include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, or Doberman Pinschers. Dogs that are generally good with children and other pets are Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles and Golden Doodles. If you suffer from allergies then a dog such as a Maltese may be appropriate. Of course, every animal has its' own personality which can differ even in the same breed. Spend time with an individual animal prior to adoption or purchase to make sure the animals' disposition fits your needs.
Another consideration is the size of the pet and how much maintenance they require. Some breeds such as Poodles, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu, as well as long haired cats and other breeds, require frequent grooming. If you live in an apartment or condo there may be size and number of pet restrictions. Verify what breeds are acceptable and if there are any restrictions such as weight.
Another thing to consider is if you can afford a pet. It is easy to adopt or purchase a pet but there is a lot more that goes into raising and caring for a pet. Dogs need a lot of attention, training, exercise and preventative health care. Dogs and cats get a lot of the same diseases that we get and need treatment. There are now insurance policies that are available at reasonable rates. It may pay to research the different companies and plans available. You never want to be put into a position of not being able to treat your pet's illness or injury because you can't afford it.
Always obtain your pet from a reputable breeder or an animal shelter. There are a number of good websites available to help you decide on which type of pet or breed is the best fit for your lifestyle. Do a search for "choosing a pet" and you will be directed to a number of great sites. Your veterinarian is also a great source of information.
Being a good pet owner is more than just feeding, walking and playing with them. Your pet has only you to depend on and its health depends on your care as well as your love.