Here is a list of top resources for pet owners who want to be the best "parents" they can be. Bookmark these sites, which dispense adoption information, medical advice, training tips, those pet birthday gifts and lifestyle ideas. Others provide forums for you to dish about your favorite topic!
Adopt your next best friend
Pets should be purchased from licensed breeders or adopted from rescue organizations. These sites help you decide what kind of pet you want to bring into your life, and help you find him or her.
Animal Planet's Pet Picker is a great resource for beginners. Learn how to choose your next companion, whether it's rodent or reptile, fish or fowl, Persian or Pomeranian.
Pets 101 lets you test drive various dog and cat breeds to see which is right for you.
Petfinder.com is a comprehensive source for anyone considering pet ownership. The "Before You Adopt" section helps you choose, prepare for, find and bring home your next family member. The "Adopt a Pet" pages link you to shelters and rescue organizations and let you search by breed, animal type, geography, age and size from hundreds of thousands of pets.
Bird Channel is for folks who prefer feathers to fur. Learn about pet birds, their selection and care, and find bird clubs and breeders.
AKC.org, the site of the American Kennel Club, is all about purebred dogs and the people who love them. Learn about responsible dog ownership and find reputable breeders in your area.
The American Cat Fancier's Association is the AKC's feline counterpart. It's got the breed standards of all cat breeds recognized in the US and links to cat breeders.
The ASPCA answers all of your questions about animal shelters and shelter pets. Should you take your current dog to the shelter with you when adding another dog to your household? Absolutely! ASPCA.org's "Ask the Experts" pages tell you how to go about it.
Aquabid.com is an enormous world-wide auction site where you can buy and sell aquarium supplies, fish tanks, accessories, books, food, supplies, plants, and fresh- and salt-water fish.
Allerca Lifestyle Pets claims to offer the world's first truly hypoallergenic dogs and cats. You can view broadcasts from shows featuring the pets, including The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, NBC, and CNN and order a new friend.
The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 defined pet owner's responsibilities, and the Pet Education Trust tells you how to meet them. If your ideas about pet ownership come from watching Scooby Doo, visit this site ASAP.
Medical advice for pet parents
Of course, a virtual vet is no substitute for your local animal doc, but they're great sources of pet care tips and answers to the zillions of questions you'll ask over your pet's lifetime. Dog ate a cashew? Covered. Cat got the sniffles? Right here. Antisocial snake? Check. Here are the top online sources of pet health advice.
Vetratingz.com is sort of an Angie's List for pet owners. Find veterinarians in your area and read what their patients have to say about them.
WebMD Pets is to your furry, feathered and finned friends what WebMD is to you. Find articles on preventive care, pet nutrition, behavioral problems, symptoms and diseases. Get expert advice when you need it most.
You take your pet to the vet and get a diagnosis and advice. Later, however, you come up with a ton of questions. The Pet Health Library probably has what you're looking for -- practical advice and information on issues from anorexia to zinc poisoning.
The American Animal Hospital Association offers unique features. Track your pet's health records, assemble your favorite links, upload your pet's pictures and profiles, play games and get expert advice.
Heartworm Society is not a club for parasites. It's devoted to the eradication of this common menace to your pet's health. Prevention is key, and you learn it here.
Pet health insurance has gone mainstream. Compare policies and learn how to shop for them at Pet Insurance Review.
Drs. Foster and Smith sells pet health products, pet supplies, pet prescriptions and vaccines online.
Training tips online
Happy, well-behaved pets don't get that way without affection, training and care. Online trainers help you housebreak your pet, resolve behavior problems (pet and owner!), teach him or her cute tricks and explore advanced activities like obedience, retrieving and agility.
Run by APDT members, Association of Pet Dog Trainers, is all about dogs, from socializing puppies to herding trials, from choosing a professional trainer to dog park etiquette.
Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan's site, Cesar's Way, addresses behavioral issues, provides training tips and dog care education.
The Humane Society pet owner education site helps establish harmonious relationships between human families and their pets -- keeping animals with their loved ones and out of shelters.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's site supplies loads of information about pets and why they do what they do. You can also find local animal behaviorists here.
Tired of dogs and cats getting all the attention? Then Small Animal Channel is for you! Learn to teach your guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, ferret or other small animal cute tricks.
The Way of Cats shows you that cat training can go beyond housebreaking and curbing destructive behavior. "Train without strain" for a happy and productive relationship with your cat.
The ASPCA's Virtual Pet Behaviorist offers insight into dog, cat and horse behavior. Select the species of your pet, type a description of the behavior, and up comes an explanation of the behavior and what you can do about it.
Pet supplies and food
You could get mass-advertised dog food and generic toys at your grocery store, but what fun would that be? Find organic critter food, specialty toys and animal-sized football jerseys on these cool sites.
Kong is king when you want cat and dog toys -- and games for their human playmates too.
EcoAnimal offers earth-friendly pet products. From toys made from recycled products to outdoor bird feeders to bio-degradeable puppy shampoo, EcoAnimal helps any colored pet to be green.
K9 Dog Treats shows dog owners how to make home-baked dog treats, dog gift baskets and custom collars.
Pet Tags help bring your pet home safely if he or she gets lost, and they do it in style. Metal, designer colors, even blingy glitter and rhinestones are available to help your best friend stand out from the pack.
Happy Tails Pet Bakery brings treats for good dogs right to your door. Dogs love pupcakes and other yummy snacks, and they're healthy, too.
Pet Grub is all about holistic pet health, from food to supplements and medication, with an expert question-and-answer section.
PoopBags.com doesn't just sell poop bags, although the site name does get attention. They also offer dog walking essentials, beds, treats, toys and fun things for your cat so he or she doesn't get jealous.
Rainbow Bridge makes engraved pet memorial stones to commemorate the memory of a beloved companion's life.
Pet lifestyles online
Pets aren't objects you own; they're companions. These sites offer services, merchandise and advice to enhance your relationship with your pet.
Fetch Pet Care is the largest pet-sitting service in the country. Find someone to walk, groom, pick up after, or babysit your best friend when you can't.
Pet Friendly Hotels helps you and your best friend plan your next vacation, providing pet travel tips, hotel pet policies and reservations at pet-friendly lodging nationwide.
Etsy offers hand-made goodies for discriminating pets everywhere -- over 100,000 collars, bowls, clothes (for you and your pets), toys, artwork, jewelry and household items.
Pet Air offers animal transport between over 150 airports, as well as corporate pet relocation and "white glove" service, which can include boarding, grooming, special delivery and other extras.
Spa Index lists and reviews pet-friendly spas and resorts, so you can relax and unwind with your animal companion.
Pet Movie Stars lets you read and post reviews about movies starring animals, view trailers and find movie information. Search for movies by animal species or movie genre.
PetStyle promotes pet ownership and features information near and dear to the hearts of pet parents. learn how to photograph your pet, dress up your pet, communicate with your pet and decipher your mixed breed's DNA.
Sonya Fitzpatrick, who gained fame as Animal Planet's Pet Psychic, connects with pets and their parents on her site. Tune in to"Animal Intuition" on SIRIUS Satellite Radio channel 102, or book a private reading online.
Online pet communities
Ever watch your pet-free acquaintances' eyes glaze over when you whip out your puppy pictures or describe that cute thing Fluffy does? No worries; the Internet brings thousands of pet pals together. Share pictures, tips, and stories, promote pet-related causes, and socialize with like-minded animal lovers.
Date My Pet helps you meet a someone to hang out with, a date or a buddy for your pet. Or answer the burning question, "Is e-dating just for freaks and weirdos?"
Dogster is a community for dog lovers, offering products, articles and the "For the Love of Dog Blog."
That Pet Blog is a fun mashup of facts, advice and links, and engaging conversation about cats and dogs, barnyard buddies, small furry friends, and eccentric exotics.
Cool Small Pets blog gives center stage to turtles, guinea pigs, parakeets and other little lovables. Learn about the latest products for your little guys, get care-taking advice and meet other folks like you.
Adopt Me lets you adopt virtual pets. Your pet gets his or her own blog and profile page and can join a pet group, send e-greeting cards to other pets, acquire a wardrobe and enter the pet of the month contest.
Goat World is where those who loved "My Pet Goat" can discover what it's like to have goats as pets. Goats can be housebroken and leash-trained. They don't like to be tied up, but they do like to watch television.
PetCentric by Purina bills itself as "a fun online pet community," and it is. Learn to speak "dog" or "cat," find local pet events, watch funny videos, share pet pictures and pet tricks, and learn about different breeds of dogs and cats.
Petpav.com is a pet social networking site, sort of a Facebook with fur.
The array of online resources for pets and the people who love them is astounding. Bookmark this list of sites and keep everything you need at your fingertips.
If you're interested in becoming a vet, check out our list of schools that offer veterinary programs.