4 Essential Things You Must Consider Before Adopting a Pet
Jiva and his wife adopted Luky, an abandoned Lab from a shelter for the first time. They were excited about the new addition but had to return him soon after as the dog didn’t fit their lifestyle.
Diksha loves cats and adopted Brandy, a calico, when the opportunity presented itself. But she had to give him back because he got sick often, and visits to the vet took a heavy toll on the wallet.
First-time pet owners are excited about adopting a pet in anticipation of joyous times. But pets from shelters have a history and may not be compatible with their owners’ lifestyle.
Once to-be pet parents realise that having a pet might not be the best option, they have no choice but to return the animal to the shelter. This takes a mental toll on the pet and the owner.
So, what should you do to avoid such painful scenarios if you’re planning to adopt a pet for the first time?
Consider these 4 essential factors below as they’ll help evaluate your commitment towards being a full-time pet parent.
1. Is your lifestyle pet-friendly?
Even adopted pets need supervision, exercise, and training to ensure that they don’t grow up with behavioural problems. Dogs need at least 1 hour of exercise, and experienced dog owners will tell you that owning one is like having a child. You can’t leave your dogs unattended for long periods as they require constant attention, playtime, and petting. So, if you don’t have the time or stamina to run with your dog and take it out on walks, adopting one might not be the best idea.
Cats, on the other hand, are independent and don’t create a fuss. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to play with them. They need quality playtime and intellectually stimulating toys to keep them occupied. (Of course, they’ll ignore the expensive toys and play with soda caps and cardboard boxes!)
While cats get used to litter boxes quickly, dogs require a lot of training, especially in the first few weeks.
Not all dogs and cats are friendly towards toddlers. So, ask your shelter about the potential pet’s temperament before adopting, as your toddler will not realise that pulling their tails or ears is very unpleasant for the animal.
Bottomline? Getting a pet might not be the best plan if you cannot invest time to play with it and train it.
2. Do you know your pet’s history?
Adopting pets from a shelter means there’s a high possibility that they’re suffering from health problems or behavioral issues. These might not be immediately visible. You might go in for the cutest face there but it’s extremely important to know the animal’s medical records and history.
Be prepared for unexpected challenges and situations that might arise even after your pet seems to have adapted to you.
3. Can your living space accommodate a pet?
Dogs are very energetic and need a lot of space to run and exercise themselves. Putting them in a small apartment will affect their mental health and behaviour negatively. However, cats don’t need large spaces as their feline instincts drive them towards small, enclosed areas. They need plenty of hiding space and a “zone” for themselves to satiate their territorial instincts.
Does this mean cats don’t like large spacious houses?
Absolutely not. Give your cat a large, dedicated space as it’ll feel like it has a place to rest when it gets overwhelmed.
And if you’re planning to move houses after adopting a pet, searching for a new home will become a Herculean task as it’s tough to find pet-friendly accommodations. A pet has a huge impact on all your life decisions and it’s important to weigh in on what you are willing to let go.
4. Do you have enough savings for pet emergencies?
Adopting a pet might be the cheaper option compared to a breed, but you’re definitely looking at higher monthly bills if you decide to own one. If you’re adopting a pet from the shelter, then you must budget for not just the adoption cost but also the maintenance cost which includes:
High-quality pet food
Litter boxes, crates, and toys
Preventive medications (for heartworm, fleas, etc.)
Adopting a pet is easy, but looking after it isn’t. Pets at the shelter have different temperaments. Ask questions about their previous experiences and request the authorities if you can come in for multiple visits to get used to the pet you have in mind.
Next, ask yourself if you have the time, space, and savings to accommodate a furry partner that will enrich your life. Now, if you said yes to all 4 questions, congratulations on the new addition to your family!