It’s important to be prepared when making the decision to welcome a furry friend to the family. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself for a successful adoption:
1. Why do you want a pet? Figuring this out may be the most important step. Do you want a running buddy? A couch potato pal? A companion animal should match your activity level, so think about your expectations and lifestyle before choosing which type of pet you’d like.
2. Are you ready for a 10-15 year commitment? You will be providing everything for this four-legged family-member for more than a decade. Make sure you are up for that.
3. Do you have the time necessary to spend with your pet? If you are away from home more than you are there, your pet’s mood or behavior may suffer. Animals get lonely just like people do!
4. Can you afford to provide for another life? Pets require food, toys, veterinary care, and other supplies, i.e. cage, litter box, etc. and costs can run pretty high––especially in the first couple years of life. Are you financially ready to take on the burden?
5. How will you care for your pet when you are away? Do you have a neighbor or friend you can rely on? Can you afford a dog walker or cat sitter? What will you do when you go out-of-town? You can’t always take your furry friend with you when you travel, so having a back-up plan in mind is key.
6. Are you a dog person? Cat person? Rabbit? Goldfish? Be honest with yourself and choose the pet you feel like you can connect the most with and take the best care 0f––not the pet that everyone says you should get, or the pet that’s cutest. You may want to start small to test the “responsibility waters.”
7. Are you prepared to know what your pet needs medically? Yearly checkups and vaccinations are a must. Add to that potential food allergies, injuries, chronic illnesses, accidents, etc. and there is a lot to think about.
8. Are you willing to put in the time to train your pet? This is no easy task. Your pet must be taught how to do everything you want her to do. Housebreaking is probably number one on the list, and takes patience, consistency, and lots of paper towels!
9. Are you prepared to make sacrifices for your pet? Just like with human kids, there are times you must put your pet’s needs above your own. Even if you are not a morning person, your dog may need to pee at 5:00 AM everyday.
10. Is your living space pet-proof and adequate to house a pet? A tiny apartment may not the ideal environment for a 100-pound energetic Lab. Think about the exercise, space, and emotional needs of the animal you choose, and then decide if you can offer adequate room.
Adopting a new pet is a serious decision, and requires a lot of deep thought and preparation. Don’t take the plunge before you’re ready, but know that all the vet visits, unexpected costs, and housetraining headaches are worth it for the love and devotion you get in return!