Adopting a pet is a big decision and it probably won’t surprise you that there is a lot involved with choosing, caring for and maintaining a new pet. If you are looking to bring a new friend home, consider these seven important things before heading to the pound or breeder:
1. Pets Are a Huge Commitment
Depending on what kind of pet you intend to adopt, there is a very real chance that it could live for 10-20 years. Some types of commonly kept parrots can even live up to 50 years! With that in mind, consider your current circumstances carefully. Are you going to be physically and emotionally able to provide care for your pet during its entire lifetime? Or are you only thinking about the immediate future during which you want a companion to have fun with? Only think about becoming a pet parent if it is definitely the former.
2. Pets Require Plenty of One-On-One Time
Most pets require constant human interaction and care, so it is wise to ensure that you can provide this before adopting one. Certain animals, like cats and dogs, need high levels of daily affection, and it is unwise to adopt a pet if you travel, work long hours or spend a great deal of time away from home. If this is the case, consider adopting a pet like a lizard or fish that requires less hands-on time.
3. Pets Are Expensive
When you start adding up expenses like food, vaccinations, vet bills, toys, grooming equipment, leashes and registration, things get expensive quickly! Properly caring for an animal involves having the financial means to provide it with necessary care like quality food, medications and veterinary attention. Before you adopt, research the average price of pet requirements and develop a budget for your new pet’s expenses, including both foreseen expenses, like spaying and neutering for dogs and cats, and unforeseen expenses, such as an emergency operation to have a ball removed. Check out our pet industry infographic for typical costs.
4. Not Every Pet is Right for Every Owner
Before adopting your new pet, do some research on what type of pet you truly want. Do not adopt a cat simply because your friend has a cat and you happen to enjoy spending time with it when you go for visits. Consider your lifestyle and desires and then choose the pet that best meshes with those things. When you take the time to do your research before you adopt, you are more likely to wind up with a companion that suits your lifestyle and will provide years of happy memories and love.
5. Pets Require Planning
When you adopt a pet, it is no longer possible to leave town for weeks at a time without any considerations at home. Take some time to think about who will care for your pet when you are gone, what this will entail and if you can bring the pet with you while you travel. That is not to say that someone who is single and lives alone cannot adopt a pet. It just means that if you are going to adopt a pet in those circumstances, make sure that there is some type of pet day care or that you will be able to arrange a sitter.
6. Pets Can Make Renting Difficult
If you adopt a dog and are currently renting a house or apartment, it may be difficult to find a new place when it is time to move. Consider the ramifications of pet adoption on your living situation before heading to the pound.
7. Some Pets Need Special Care
Some animals may require extensive grooming, bathing or training and it is your responsibility as a pet owner to ensure that you can fulfill these needs before you bring the pet home.
Adopting a new pet is one of life’s happiest moments and will certainly bring a new sense of joy into your home. Remember, however, that adopting a pet is also a large responsibility and should be undertaken with plenty of prior thought and research. Take your time to really consider your stance on the above points and once you have come to a conclusion, allow yourself to "sleep on" the decision. Then look back at your answers and move forward from there.
Photo ©iStock.com/ Sami Sert