Are you thinking about bringing a new pet into the family?
Let me start by saying that’s awesome! Having a new companion is wonderful, plus pets can provide plenty of benefits. In fact, it’s not just gaining a new friend — pets can provide actual health benefits, too.
However, deciding to get a new pet is a big decision, and should be well-planned. Adopting an animal — a real, living being that requires care and attention — is a pretty major life change. You’ll want to do your homework and give things plenty of thought before jumping in head-first.
Here are five things you should think about before picking out your new fur-ever friend.
The first thing you should consider is what sort of animal will best compliment your life. It’s important to do some research to make sure you’re picking the perfect pet. Does your schedule allow for walks, or do you need a pet that doesn’t require them? Are you home enough to give them plenty of attention?
After all, the last thing you want to do is adopt an animal, only to find out it isn’t going to work. This will likely be heartbreaking for you, but could also extremely stressful for the animal, especially if they must be surrendered.
On top of that, it’s extremely important to ensure your pet will fit into your current living arrangements. Is your home big enough for your chosen pet, and does your new friend need a fenced in yard? Plus, if you rent, you definitely need to check with your landlord prior to adopting.
Not only should you learn about the breed you’re interested in adopting, you should also research the shelter or organization. Reputable rescue groups and shelters are incredibly thorough when it comes to vetting potential adopters. They should want to match you with an animal that will be a good fit.
If a dog or cat isn’t right for you, or you have reservations about a particular animal, trust your gut. You don’t need to settle for a pet that isn’t what you were expecting, or that you don’t think will be the best match. The right pet for you will come along, you just might need to be patient.
Adopting a new pet into your home is a huge commitment — make no mistake about it. Sure, they’re cute and the snuggles are fun, but they also require a lot of care and attention. It’s kind of like getting a kid!
That means that you need to be prepared to keep up with regular veterinarian visits and vaccines, buying healthy, nutritious food, and providing toys and other supplies needed. You also need to make sure you’re prepared to care for them for many years to come.
Not sure if a pet is right for you? Talk to a shelter about fostering one for a couple of weeks. This can be the perfect way to see if you can handle being a pet parent!