I work for a nonprofit that trains service dogs for Veteran's with PTSD and we just started using salesforce. I am the admin, and still learning as I go... I am struggling with the best practice to create a profile, or contact page for our canines. I need to include all of the vet records, where they are (foster or placed with veteran), a photo, etc. They will also have a relationship that will link them to their foster contact or Veteran, for tracking purposes. My question is, should I create a custom object or record type for the canines? Or a custom object with custom record types? I will need to pull reports, set notifications for shots due, etc. I don't want to lose functionality by over complicating it. We are running NPSP Enterprise. Thank you in advance!
(As an aside, you may find more nonprofit-oriented support resources, including discussion forums, through the Power of Us Hub. Salesforce Stack Exchange specializes in specific, at least somewhat engineering-focused questions, but there are NPSP people here as well. Additionally, Salesforce just released a number of NPSP-focused modules on Trailhead).
There's no single right answer to this question, and it sounds like you still have a lot of your data architecture wide open. You could certainly make this work in a number of different ways, but I'll make a couple of recommendations.
Odd as it may seem, I'm going to suggest making your canines a new Record Type on Contact. That'll allow you to use the built-in NPSP Relationship object to track relationships to your foster contacts and veteran placements, to reduce the amount of custom work you'll need to do.
You can use a page layout specific to the Canine Record Type to surface only fields relevant to those animals, while preventing them from being displayed on human contacts.
Vet records are really a separate question, but I could see potentially utilizing Activities to track these work items. The NPSP comes with some interesting functionality around donor engagement activity plans that you could potentially repurpose, or build out custom functionality for more automation. That might be another topic to discuss with other NPSP users at the Power of Us Hub.