It's about so much more than whether you're a dog or cat person. Do you want an adult dog or cat, or would you prefer a puppy or kitten? The commitment is quite different.
Along with lots of fun and excitement, your new family addition brings change. Read below for a few things to consider before entering into pet parenthood.
Many animals are brought to the shelter by people who had good intentions when they first acquired them. Before you make the decision to bring a furry friend into your life, take a moment to consider the following questions.
Why do you want a pet? Adopting a pet just because it's "the thing to do" or because the kids have been pining for a puppy usually ends up being a big mistake. Pets are a long-term commitment and you may be lucky enough to have one with you for 10, 15 even 20 years.
Do you have time for a pet? Pets cannot be ignored because you're tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care and companionship every day of the year.
Can you afford a pet? The costs of pet ownership can be high. Licenses, training, spaying/neutering, grooming, vet care, food, litter, and other expenses add up.
Are you prepared for problems that pets can cause? Chewed or scratched household items from pets who are young or not yet trained; accidents from animals who aren't yet housebroken; and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.
Can you have a pet where you live? Find out before you adopt. Many rental communities do not allow pets or impose restrictions.
Is it a good time to adopt a pet? Children under 6 years of age require special consideration when adopting a pet. If you are a student, in the military, or travel frequently as part of your work, waiting until you settle down is a wise choice.
Are your living arrangements suitable for the animal you want? Adopting a large or energetic dog to share a small apartment, for example, is not a good idea. Choose an animal who will be comfortable in your surroundings and with your schedule.
Who will look after your pet when you are away? You will need reliable friends and neighbours, or money to incur the cost for a boarding kennel or pet sitting service.
Will you be a responsible pet owner? Your responsibility is to have your pet spayed/neutered, obey leash/licensing laws, and keep identification tags on your pets. Of course, giving your pet love, companionship, exercise, a healthy diet and regular veterinary care are other essentials.
Are you prepared to care for a pet for his/her entire lifetime? When you adopt a pet, you are making a commitment to care for it for as many as 10, 15, or 20 years.
We know it is a long list of questions, but a quick stroll through the animal shelter will help you understand why answering them before you adopt a pet is so important.