It’s a very exciting time when you decide to adopt a dog or cat. You’re adding a new member to the family, you get to watch the animal grow and develop, and there’s lots of time to play and cuddle. But it is not a commitment one should rush into. Think about some of the following ways that can make a pet adoption smooth for all parties.
What to do before adopting a pet
Do your research on breeds and the size of the pet beforehand. Although picking the first dog or cat you think is cute may seem acceptable, taking some time to understand the temperaments of different breeds is important.
This rationale is particularly relevant with dogs – some require a lot of exercise and outside living, while others are better suited as small lap dogs. The more you know by the time you start actually visiting shelters and adoption centers, the more likely you will choose a pet that fits you and your family.
Discuss the responsibility of caring for a pet with the whole family. If you have children, they are most likely extremely excited you are about to get a family pet. Though they will be smitten with the puppy or kitten, you cannot expect the onus of duty to be on them.
Adopting a pet is a lot of work, so it’s best to delegate general responsibilities beforehand. New chores will make themselves known once you’ve got a furry friend. The family can work together to make your adopted pet cared for and comfortable.
Thoughtfully consider the location you are adopting from. Shelters vary in their treatment of the animals – whether they have a no-kill policy or not is one major differentiation. Shelters of both varieties exist in communities and both require strong public support to survive.
If you visit an animal shelter and are concerned about the conditions, be vocal. But do bear in mind that the complexity of care and treatment required for a full-scale shelter is much different than personally owning a pet or two. Hence, what may appear to be sub-par circumstances could actually be adequate and functional for the shelter’s situation.
Prepare for your new pet
Set your house up properly to be puppy or kitten-ready. They are going to be clumsy and energetic – take care to set up gates if you have any staircases. Pet-proofing your house will mean keeping the floors clean and keeping human food out of reach on tables and counter-tops.
Preparation will also mean setting up a litter box if it’s a cat and training your puppy to come outside for the bathroom if it’s a puppy. Shutting the doors when you leave rooms is important too. Otherwise, you may have a young pet digging through the bathroom garbage or bedroom clothes.
Foster a relationship with your local veterinarians. Bringing your pet in for its first exam and shots is a convenient jumping off point for getting to know your vet. Be sure to use them as a resource and ally when you have questions or concerns.