Choosing the Right Kind of Pet and Where Do You Get That Pet From?


with Dr. Dana Varble

If there’s a time of year to talk about what type of pet to get, and where you get that pet from – this is it.  The kids say, “I want a pet for Christmas (or Hanukkah).” Listen HERE to Dr.Dana Varble, chief veterinary officer at the North American Veterinary Community offer advice on my Steve Dale’s Pet World WGN Radio Show.

Understand that many pets – from large parrots (most especially) to dogs, cats, rabbits and also some reptiles are a commitment of many years.

Fancy rat

When it comes to getting dogs or cats, we chat about where to get the animals from (legitimate rescues and shelters, and responsible breeders) and where to never get them from, (someone selling in social media is a total red flag, selling in parking lots or definitely never at pet stores).

We answer this important question – when it comes to small mammals, do you get a pet rat, gerbil, hamster or Guinea pig? And how about rabbits?

Corn snake

Often times, a first time pet is something other than a dog or cat, and might be a small mammal, a pet bird or pet reptile.

Yellow and Green Amazon parrot

For a starter reptile, Dr Varble offers her suggestions of species. Now where do you get one of these reptiles from? And how do you determine if that individual in the store is right for you? And what questions do you ask? Generally, a small retail store specializing in reptiles is a good bet, if you are seeking a pet reptile. Also, in the Chicago area, there’s rescue: Contact  The Chicago Herpetological Society or Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue.

Flying Can Openers

Pet birds are another kind of pet all together in so many ways. We chat about the reality of having a pet bird, which can range from ornamental canaries to very interactive pet parrots, which can range from little budgies to not so little Amazon parrots. “Not to say they aren’t great pets but they’re very very challenging,” Varble says.

Whether it’s a bird or reptile – you don’t want a wild caught animal.

We also talk about the need for veterinary care – no matter what type of pet you have, from a rabbit to a rainbow boa constrictor.

The Border Collie and the Poodle and the psychiatrist.

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So, Who is Steve Dale?


Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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