Pets are an important part of the lives of so many people – the bonds we form with them can impact our lives in profound ways and provide a special kind of companionship that can’t be found elsewhere.

But it’s important not to be impulsive when it comes to forming those bonds. Having a pet is a big responsibility, and thoughtlessly gifting or adopting one can lead to some awful situations. Here’s a handy guide from a pet store professional on the do’s and don’ts.

1. Fish

You definitely gotta plan ahead.

2. Betta fish

Don’t just default to a bowl.

3. Goldfish

Do well and they can be a longtime companion.

4. Hamsters

Not all animals are built to cooperate.

5. Guinea pigs

Don’t put them in a bad position.

6. Rodents

Turns out living things need oxygen. Who knew?

7. Dogs

They’re an adorable handful.

8. Kittens and puppies

They need their bonding period, just like people do.

9. Cats

This common practice is a lot more cruel than you might think.

10. Birds

Why anyone would keep a bird in their house is beyond me personally.

11. Lizards

You might have a Godzilla on your hands.

12. Conclusion

They’re alive, and they need to be cared for.

So if you’re thinking of getting or giving a pet soon, be sure you think it through. It may be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life if you do.

What’s the best pet you’ve ever had?

Tell us about them in the comments.