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Questions and Tips for Adopting a Pet

 Homeless dog behind a fence

The deci­sion to adopt a pet is one that can have a sig­nif­i­cant impact, not only on your life, but also the lives of your fam­ily and your pet.  There­fore, it’s not a deci­sion that should be made on a whim.  Con­sid­er­a­tion for both your pet and your­self (and your fam­ily) must be given to ensure that get­ting a pet is a good idea.  Here are a few ques­tions to ask your­self to deter­mine if you’re really ready to adopt a pet:

  • Why do you want a pet?  Com­pan­ion­ship and to teach your kids respon­si­bil­ity are good rea­sons.  Get­ting a lit­tle yappy dog because some celebrity has a lit­tle yappy dog is not.
  • Are you ready to make a long-term com­mit­ment?  Rodents and fish have rel­a­tively short lifes­pans, but in the case of dogs and cats, you could be talk­ing 15 years or more.  Life changes a lot in 15 years, and your pet will be part of those changes.  Make sure you under­stand that adopt­ing a pet could mean a life-long commitment.
  • Can you afford to pay for your pet’s health and safety?  You’re going to be pay­ing for more than food.  We’re talk­ing booster shots, med­ical costs, licenses, and all kinds of stuff.  Can you afford that?  Are you will­ing to pri­or­i­tize and put your pet’s needs before less impor­tant expenditures?
  • Got the time?  Pets need love, atten­tion, and in many cases, train­ing.  All that takes time.  Do you have time to see to your pet?  Are you will­ing to re-arrange your life so you can take care of your animal?

If you’ve asked your­self the big ques­tions and find that you’re ready to adopt a furry (or scaly) new friend, one good place to look is ani­mal shel­ters.  Adop­tion costs are typ­i­cally lower, and many times the shel­ters have kept their ani­mals up on their vac­ci­na­tions.  If you choose to go the shel­ter adop­tion route, here are a few quick tips:

  • Talk to your fam­ily (if applic­a­ble) about what kind of pet you want.
  • If you adopt a pet for your kids, don’t expect them to do all the work.  There’s a very good chance you’ll wind up feed­ing or clean­ing up after your pet after your kids lose interest.
  • Do some research.  Find out what breeds fit the best with your family’s lifestyle.
  • Teach your kids about pet par­ent­ing.  Make sure your kids know what it means to own a pet and under­stand the respon­si­bil­ity they are undertaking.
  • Make sure there are no allergy issues.  Aller­gies can make life mis­er­able, for both your fam­ily mem­bers and your pet.
  • Get stocked up.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of food, toys, feed­ing imple­ments, and other sup­plies for your new buddy.  Make sure you have a comfy, clean place for your pet to sleep.

For­mu­late a sched­ule and stick to it.  Make sure you know when you’re going to be walk­ing the dog or feed­ing the cat.  Many pets thrive on rou­tine, and they get excited when they know they’re going to get some face time with their favorite per­son – you!

 

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