DECIDE YOUR PET
Choosing the Right Pet for Your Lifestyle
Animal shelters and rescue organizations are filled with pets who have been turned in by their owners because of lifestyle issues: the dog requires too much attention or too much exercise, the cat needs regular grooming that they don’t want to deal with, and so on.
Adopting a new pet is both exciting and rewarding … and it should be a life-long commitment. Before you choose a new pet, consider how it will fit into your lifestyle. Ask yourself:
HOW ACTIVE ARE YOU?
If your family enjoys regular long-distance hiking or walking, look for an active breed dog that you’ll be able to take with you. If you prefer to relax at home or you only like brief walks, a cat or a dog with low exercise needs will better suit you.
HOW MUCH TIME CAN YOU DEVOTE TO A PET?
Dogs undeniably require more time and attention than cats do. Likewise, pets with longer fur need extra grooming time; working dog breeds need activities like agility or flyball to keep their brains and bodies sufficiently exercised; and so on.
CAN YOU AFFORD TO CARE FOR A PET?
Pets come with a financial responsibility such as food, training, veterinary bills, grooming, boarding fees (or pet fees if they travel with you), and more.
WHAT SIZE OF PET IS APPROPRIATE?
Is your home, yard, and car big enough to accommodate a large-breed dog? Are you able to physically handle a large dog? Do you have any physical conditions that may prevent you from exercising or caring for a pet?
WHAT LENGTH OF COAT CAN YOU CARE FOR?
Long-haired dogs and cats will require usually more grooming to keep the coat healthy and tangle-free. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do this yourself, then factor in the time it takes to transport your pet to a groomer as well as the additional expense.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAVEL?
If you travel often, this may not be the right time to adopt a pet. Wait until you have some time to spend adjusting to life with a new pet (and allow him to adjust to you too!).
Traveling often doesn’t mean you can’t have a pet, but you will have to consider who is going to care for him while you are away – or will you take him with you? Consider the cost of boarding or pet-sitting, or look into pet-friendly accomodations so you can bring him along.
DO YOU OWN OR RENT YOUR OWN HOME?
Many landlords do not permit pets, and it’s not a good idea to sneak them in (if you’re found out, you risk being told to get rid of your pet). Make sure you have it in writing if you’re allowed to have a pet.
WHAT FAMILY CONSIDERATIONS DO YOU
These include issues such as allergies, or family members with special needs. Many people with allergies still have pets because they’re willing to do what it takes to manage their allergies. Is your family ready for such a commitment? Another big consideration is children: if you have very young children, for instance, or you plan to have children, it may not be the best idea to get a high-energy dog that requires a great deal of time, attention and supervision.
WHAT AGE OF PET DO YOU WANT?
Puppies and kittens are cute, but do you have the time to raise one? If not, consider adopting an adult or even a senior pet. Adult pets have plenty of love to give and will bond to their new people.
Make sure everyone in the household agrees to a pet and gets the opportunity to meet the pet prior to adoption. Take the time to find a pet that’s a good match for your personality and your lifestyle. It will ensure that you get the pet you want, and ensure that a pet gets a loving, permanent home.