Every pet owner wants to make sure they are doing the best job they can at keeping their furry baby happy, healthy, and safe. Owning and caring for a pet can be stressful at times and there are many factors to consider before jumping into pet parent life. Here is a list of 5 things to consider when choosing a pet.
1. Do your research: Taking on an animal is a huge responsibility, and many factors come into play when making this decision. For example, if you know you are not home a lot, an older dog or cat who doesn't require so much attention might be a better option than a puppy or kitten who is energetic and needs tons of time and care. Keeping a huge and energetic dog in a small apartment with no place to run wouldn’t be fair to the dog. If you are adopting a cat but have other cats or dogs in the house, make sure the cat is okay with other animals. It is important to research the circumstances, breed, health condition, age, and needs of the pet you are taking into your home to make sure it is a good fit.
2. Adopt don’t shop: Taking care of any animal is a good deed, however, adopting a dog or cat that is in need of a home is an incredible act of kindness. There are not enough homes for the animals that are born every year! In fact, each year 8 to 12 million adult dogs and cats, as well as puppies and kittens, are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them. These staggering statistics are sad but true, however something can be done about this! When you adopt a pet from a shelter instead of purchasing from a store or breeder, you help break the cycle of pet overpopulation. You might be saying to yourself “how is one adoption going to even make a dent in this issue?” but the truth is every adoption counts! When you adopt you are literally saving a life and if you adopt an older animal, you will be giving them a chance to live out their years in a happy home. Mass breeding facilities consist of overcrowded cages of animals with little human interaction, intolerable environments, and the animals are forced to breed litters upon litters. If you adopt, you won’t be supporting these cruel practices. Plus, adoption is cheaper and the pet you are adopting has been cared for by professionals in the shelter, so they'll most likely be healthy.
3. Be prepared for the expense: A new pet can be costly when considering all of the equipment and medical expenses they will incur in the beginning. For example, not only do you need to purchase bowls, food, beds, toys, etc., but you also need money to ID and spay or neuter your pet. Whether you get your pet microchipped or opt for a physical ID tag, both cost money. In addition, vaccinations, training, grooming, and vet check-ins are added expenses. You want to make sure you can afford to give your pet the proper and best care.
4. Consider your environment: Taking into consideration where you live is vital when choosing a pet. For example: If you live in an apartment that doesn’t allow animals, sneaking in a pet is not a good idea because if you’re caught you might have to give your pet away. This is not fair to the animal. If you live in a small apartment with no yard, but want a large dog who needs constant exercise, that might not be a good fit. If you have dogs already and are looking to adopt a cat or dog who is not friendly with other animals, it probably won’t work out. If your roommate hates animals, there will obviously be issues. These are a few of the many scenarios to consider.
5. Consider your free time: New pets can be extremely time consuming. They require constant attention, exercise, playing, training, and overall care. If you are a new parent or just got a promotion at work that requires more of your time, it might not be a good time to take on an additional responsibility.
Pets, just like humans, get attached and become your family. When adopting a pet, you are taking on the responsibility of another life. Pets are not toys and are not disposable. It would not be fair to the animal if you decide down the road that you don’t want a pet or can’t take care of it, and give it away. That is why proper deliberation and consideration should be done before taking this big step.