Bringing a new furry companion into your family is an exciting prospect! But if this is your first pet, or you're considering getting a different breed or type of pet than you've had in the past, we encourage you to do some research first. A successful adoption depends on finding a good match for your lifestyle and desires in a pet.
Are you an active person who would enjoy a dog who needs lots of exercise? Do you have time to train a dog properly, or perhaps would a cat be a better choice? Do you need a pet that's good with children-- at this time or in the future if you plan to have children? Or good with other pets? A puppy or kitten, or an adult pet? Are you willing to make a lifetime commitment to care for a pet? Can you afford to care for a pet?
These are the types of things to consider and research before adopting a pet. The internet, libraries and bookstores have much information on pet care and on specific breeds.
Are you ready for a pet?
We've compiled an outline of some very basic things to consider before you get a pet and tips to keeping them (and you!) happy and healthy. Visit our Pet Care & Behavior page for more information and links to a variety of excellent resources.
1. Choose wisely
- Do your research. Make sure you know what is involved in caring for a particular type of pet and breed. Dogs especially have a wide variety of temperaments, activity levels, health and grooming needs, etc., depending on their breed.
- Choose a pet and breed that matches your lifestyle. Choosing a pet on its looks alone can lead to a poor match and result in the pet being given up.
- Make sure you're ready for a pet. Do you have the time, money, living situation and level of commitment to give an animal a happy home?
- Remember, cute little puppies and kittens eventually become dogs and cats. Pets can live for 15 years or more.
2. Treat 'em well
- Provide a good diet and take them to the vet regularly
- Get them spayed or neutered. Besides reducing overpopulation, there are also health and behavioral benefits for your pet including removing the risk of certain cancers.
- Make sure they get enough exercise and playtime.
- Be consistent with house training and obedience training. Reward them for good behavior.
- Socialize them with others
- Always keep current ID on your pet, including your phone number
- Spend time with them!
3. Make a lifetime commitment
- Our pets count on us to care for them for their entire lives. Don't let them down. Having a pet is a lot of fun and extremely rewarding but it's also a responsibility. It's no coincidence that shelters are filled with young adult dogs and cats, given up shortly after the cute puppy or kitten grows up.
- Plan ahead. If you are moving, make sure you can take your pet with you. If you're planning to have kids, socialize your pet with children ahead of time.
- Don't ignore behavioral problems. Small problems can easily become big problems. Seek professional help from your vet, a trainer, or an animal behaviorist.