Adopting a pet takes a lot of commitment and there’s lots of factors you must consider before taking your furry friend home. If you’re thinking about adopting, you should really consider why you want to adopt.
Are you at a point in your life where you want to add an animal to your family? Are you single and hoping to get a pet just for yourself? Do you already have pets, but you think it’s time to add another?
Whatever the reason, you must understand that you’re taking on the responsibility of their lifetime. Are you willing to be there through their life’s changes? To help you prepare, we’ve created a list of 10 things you should do before adopting your new pet.
1. Research the type of animal you want
Different species and breeds have different needs when it comes to things like food, behaviours, housing, physical activity, overall care and more.
The first thing to do when you decide you want to adopt a pet should be researching what type of pet you’re going to bring home. Some pets require more physical activity than others – are you willing to dedicate your time to accommodate this?
While researching different kinds of pets, you should also reflect on yourself and your lifestyle:
- Are you at work for most of your day?
- Do you have lots of free time?
- Are you able to come home at any given time?
- Do you consider yourself physically active?
When you know the answer to these things, it will make researching what type of pet to adopt a way easier process.
2. Know the costs
Say you pay the one-time adoption fee at your local shelter to bring your new pet home, that’s great but that is just the beginning! Pets are costly creatures that require ongoing care just like us humans.
As a pet owner, you are responsible for providing basic supplies – this includes things like food, litter, leashes, collars, toys and more. If you’re unfamiliar with these costs, reach out to your local shelters and/or breeders to get a sense of how much these things will cost you on a monthly and annual basis.
In addition to supplies, you should be prepared to have to pay for veterinarian exams and urgent visits to the vet if need be. Paying for regular check-ups is smart because it helps ensure any problems can be found before they grow into bigger, more expensive, and potentially life-threatening issues.
Accidents happen and sometimes these accidents can cost thousands for pet owners. To help with this, it may be a good idea for you to purchase pet insurance which can dramatically lower veterinarian related costs.
3. Determine where you’re going to adopt from
Shelters around the world are home to pets who must get adopted. If these pets don’t get adopted in time, they are usually euthanized due to lack of space.
So, if you’re looking for places to get a new pet from, please consider adopting from a shelter because you’re saving a life by doing so.
If you adopt from a shelter, you don’t need to worry about costs associated with vaccinations or getting your pet spayed or neutered – this is taken care of at the shelter. It’s also usually also way cheaper to get a pet from a shelter instead of an expensive breeder.
So, when deciding where to get your furry friend from, please consider and research local shelters in your community.
4. Is your home good for your new pet?
Before going through with an adoption, ensure your living space is ideal for your new addition.
Are you hoping to get a pet that needs lots of exercise? If so, is your home the right fit? If you live in an apartment or condo that doesn’t have a back yard, maybe it’s not the best idea to adopt a puppy that requires lots of hours of running around – instead, you could consider adopting a cat.
Are the windows in your home secure? This is something you want to be sure of, especially if you’re bringing home a kitten as they are extremely curious and can fit through small spaces.
Overall, you’ll want to make sure the space is suitable for your pet and secondly, you’ll want to pet proof it as best as you can. Pet proofing can look like.
5. Are you allowed pets?
If you’re renting your home, be sure to check that you’re legally allowed pets. For example, British Columbia’s rental market is extremely poor when it comes to being pet friendly.
Be sure to check with your landlord and be prepared to pay a pet fee – this is like a damage deposit. And if your home does allow pets, make sure there are no restrictions on size or breeds beforehand.
6. Spending time with them first
If you think you’ve found the right pet, you should try to spend some time with them before making becoming their owner.
Go to the shelter or breeder and express that you would like to spend time with the pet before making the decision – reputable breeders and shelters will accommodate this because they want what is best for their animals.
While it is helpful to know information regarding their temperament and personality, spending time with them one-on-one is extremely valuable. This gives you a chance to see if they’ll warm up to you and can ultimately help you when questioning if this is the right fit for you and the animal.
Prepare for training
If you’re bringing home a dog or puppy, you should prepare yourself for training. Whether this means you do it yourself or hire a trainer, it is something to be prepared for.
Dog training can be expensive, are you in a position financially to accommodate this? If you’ve decided you’re going to train your dog yourself, are you educated on how to successfully do this?
The best thing to do is research and speak with local organizations that can lend you a hand in deciding how you’re going to train your furry friend.
8. Find a local veterinarian
A responsible thing to do before adopting your new pet is to find a local veterinarian. If your loved ones have pets, you should ask them about their experiences with vets in the area and who they get their services from.
Once you know who your veterinarian will be, you should plan to schedule your pet’s first visit immediately after the adoption is complete. Be sure to collect all vaccination records from your shelter or breeder and go over any health issues your pet might have.
This will make your first veterinarian visit less stressful and easier for everyone involved.
9. Create a space just for them
Before your furry friend comes home for the first time, you should create a spot just for them. Your home is a foreign place for them so when they arrive, it could be quite a stressful situation.
Making a special space with a bed and some toys is a great way to make them more comfortable. Incorporating something from the shelter or breeder where you got them is also a good idea because it carries familiar smells which will also help keep them calm.
10. Take your time to find your best match
Lastly, just remember to take your time! While adopting a pet is an extremely exciting time, don’t rush the process. Taking your time will help you find the right match.
Sometimes pets don’t work out in their new homes, and this can be a difficult reality. Ensure you’ve covered all your bases before making the commitment and you can lower your chances of failure.
Every animal up for adoption deserves a home, be sure your home is the right fit and be patient – sometimes pets need more time than you realize before opening to their owners. Good luck!