CONSIDERING A PET

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Why do you want to adopt a pet?

Choosing to adopt a pet is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Before you decide to take a new canine or feline friend home, please consider the following:

  • If you are getting a pet for your children, rest assured it will be YOUR pet when it comes to cleaning, feeding, exercising and training the pet. And, when your children are grown up and move away, chances are the animal will remain your pet.
  • If you are getting a dog for protection, please think again. An alarm system or secure fence is a much better measure to protect your home than a dog. Moreover, making a dog live outside of your house 24 hours a day in order to scare away potential thieves is a cruel, sad life for the dog and can often lead to more aggressive, antisocial behavior on the dog's part.
  • If you are getting the dog or cat because a particular breed is “hot” or was featured in a movie or TV show, this is one of the worst reasons to get a pet. Many breeds require care and handling that may not fit into your lifestyle and capabilities. Always adopt a dog or cat based on their temperament, personality and physical needs rather than their looks.

 

Do you have the time to care for a pet?

Dogs and cats are much like small children who will never grow up. They need to be taken care of every day, even if you feel tired or ill. They need to be fed, given water and played with each day to remain normal, happy and well-adjusted. A dog can live for 12 years or more, and a cat can live for 20.

 

Do you have the financial resources for a pet at this time?

Owning a pet is certainly not cheap! It’s important to look beyond just the cost of purchasing the animal. In addition to your adoption fee, training and spay/neuter costs, you will need money for food, veterinary bills, license fees, toys, bedding, kitty litter, grooming, and other expenses. Dog and cat owners spend on average over $500 a year. If the animal gets hurt or sick, medical costs can easily exceed several hundred dollars, or even thousands.

 

Are you able to deal with special problems that might come up with your pet?

There is no such thing as the "perfect pet" or "instant pet." Dogs and cats need to acclimate into a home and they can often wreak havoc on your belongings! Cats can shred furniture and dogs can chew your favorite pair of sneakers. Flea infestations can occur and litter box problems and housebreaking issues will need to be cleaned up! Unexpected medical emergencies can occur with your pet at any age as well and you need to be prepared, both financially and emotionally.

 

Are you allowed to have a pet where you live?

Many landlords restrict pet ownership for renters and you need to be sure you are allowed to own a pet where you currently rent. Even if you are allowed, be aware that if you need to move, it can often be very difficult to find housing that allows pets, particularly dogs.

 

Is this a good time in your life to adopt a pet?

If you are a student, in the military or travel frequently, this may not be the best time in your life to bring an animal home. Parents with children under the age of 6 should also give serious consideration to whether or not this is the right time to bring a dog or cat home. Children need to be mature enough to interact with an animal responsibly, both for the child’s and the pet's safety.

 

Do you have the right living arrangement for the pet you have in mind?

If you live in a tiny apartment, adopting a large or energetic dog can be quite a challenge! Likewise, if you live in a high-coyote area, adopting a small dog who will use the yard unsupervised can be quite risky. Make sure that the environment is appropriate for all of the pet’s needs. If you don’t have a yard, you’ll need a safe place where you can regularly walk your dog. If you do have a yard, is the fencing secure and high enough to keep your dog in? Is there adequate shelter for when he or she is in the yard?

 

Who will take care of your pet while you are away?

Taking your pet with you on vacation or on business trips isn’t always feasible. You’ll need friends or family who can care for your pet, or the financial resources for a dog/cat sitter or boarding facility.

 

Do you have the right personality for owning a pet?

Be honest when answering this question. If you are easily stressed out, or a "neat freak," adopting a pet could provide additional unforeseen challenges in your life that you may or may not want to deal with.

 

If you already have pets, will they welcome a new addition to the home?

Is your current pet dog or cat friendly? Do they have behavioral issues that you might want to work on prior to bringing them a friend home?

 

Have you taught your children how to properly interact with a dog or cat?

Teaching your children how to properly handle a dog or cat leads to a happy, well-adjusted pet. In general, a child should not be left alone with a dog unsupervised; the majority of dog bites to children occur in the home with a family pet. Cats that are frightened or pestered are also likely to bite or scratch.

 

Are you willing to put in the time and commitment to properly train a dog?

Dogs do not learn such things as "sit" and "down" automatically from birth. It requires time and care from their owners to help show them proper manners. It can make the difference between having a happy life or surrendering your dog for its unruly behavior.

 

Have you done your homework on owning a pet?

Reading up prior to getting a pet on such issues as housebreaking, training, behavioral problems and daily care and feeding of a dog or cat are an important first step in adopting a pet.

 

Will you be a responsible pet owner?

Responsible pet ownership includes spaying or neutering your pets, vaccinating them regularly, licensing them with your city or county, obeying community leash laws, keeping identification on them at all times and training your dog. Loving your dog or cat and giving them plenty of exercise, companionship, healthy food and regular veterinary visits are all part of responsible pet ownership as well.

 

Top Ten Reasons Given for Relinquishment of Dogs & Cats

DOGS

1. Owner Moving
2. Landlord does not allow pets  
3. Too many animals in household
4. Cost of pet maintenance
5. Owner's personal problems
6. Inadequate facilities
7. No homes available for littermates
8. Owner has no time for pet
9. Pet illness(es)    
10. Biting  

CATS

1. Owner Moving
2. Landlord does not allow pets
3. Too many animals in household
4. Cost of pet maintenance
5. Owner's personal problems
6. Inadequate facilities
7. No homes available for littermates
8. Allergies in family
9. House soiling
10. Incompatible with other pets