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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