Caring for a companion animal goes far beyond providing food, water and shelter. It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home, and to make sure your lifestyle is the right one for your pet.
Answering the following questions will get you started.
Why do you want to adopt a pet and are you ready to make a long-term commitment?
Are you looking for the loyal and steady companionship that an animal can offer? Are you hoping to fill the empty space after losing a pet? Knowing why you’re preparing to bring a pet home will help you to determine the breed that will fit your lifestyle. Remember, when you adopt a pet, you make a commitment to care for the animal for the rest of its life - that could mean 10-15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats.
Do you know what kind of pet is right for you?
Your personality and lifestyle, adequate living space and time spent at home, should be addressed to determine what pet is right for your household. Dogs thrive on several hours of exercise and companionship every day. Cats are healthiest and happiest indoors and love to be treated to play sessions. Research different breeds and ask shelter staffers what animals they recommend. They’re experts at making good matches. And, if you rent, do check with your landlord to see if pets are permitted.
Can you afford to care for your pet’s health and safety?
Owning a dog or cat costs more than the initial adoption fee. Food, veterinary care, spaying or neutering and proper identification are necessary. Fleas, allergies and sudden medical issues are just a few of health-related problems potential pet owners may face. If your living circumstances change, will you still be able to care for your pet?
Are you willing to train your animal companion and pet proof your home?
Lack of training is one of the most common reasons that adopters return pets to shelters. Basic training helps dogs and their owners communicate better, strengthening the relationship overall. Also you will need to make your home safe: sealing your garbage cans, paying attention to dangerous decorations during the holidays, plus keep toxic foods, pet-unfriendly plants and dangerous household items out of your pet’s reach.
Is your family ready for a pet?
Make sure your children are old enough to be around a pet. Children who are mature enough can happily share pet-care duties. And, remember, if you already have a pet at home, make sure this pet will accept a new member into their world.
Save a life. Adopt a pet from a shelter.