Are you ready to be a pet owner?
Published 11/15/15 by Maryland Avenue Pet Hospital
Perhaps you have seen movies and TV shows where the main character spots a puppy in a store window, falls in love, and brings him home to live happily ever after. It rarely works that way in reality. For a pet adoption to be successful, you need to spend time researching the breed you are considering adopting in addition to carefully considering your lifestyle. Since domesticated pets live an average of 15 years, it’s important to understand that you are making a commitment to care for the animal’s needs throughout her lifetime.
Factors to Consider Before Bringing a New Pet Home
One of the most important considerations for any prospective pet owner is his or her current lifestyle. If you have several young children, adding an energetic puppy to the household may be overwhelming. The same is true of older people who may not have the physical strength or energy to keep up with the demands of a new puppy. If you work full-time, you need to consider whether the animal can handle being alone for eight or more hours each day. An older cat may be ideal in this situation, but not a young dog who is not yet housebroken.
Another important factor to consider is the cost of pet ownership. Many people underestimate how much money it takes to care for a pet because they only count the basics like food and toys. Pets between the ages of one and seven should visit a veterinarian at least once per year for a wellness exam while puppies, kittens, and senior pets should come in every six months. You also need to budget for the cost of emergency veterinary care and the treatment of injuries and illnesses. If you live in rental housing, you may need to pay an additional deposit and extra rent each month to keep a pet.
Whenever you travel, you will need to arrange for someone to care for your pet in your absence. Whether that’s a boarding kennel or a private sitter, it’s something you will need to do whether your trip is one day or two weeks. Contrary to popular belief, cats are not so independent that you can leave them alone with food, water, and a clean litterbox for several days at a time. They need emotional nurturing just as much as they need someone to look after their physical needs.
Do Your Research Ahead of Time
We advise anyone who is thinking about getting a new pet to spend some time researching the breed. This will tell you such things as whether the animal is good with children, common personality traits, and any behavioral challenges you may experience. Every pet is unique and won’t fit into a profile exactly, but taking the time to do this will at least give you realistic expectations about pet ownership. When the match is right, experiencing the unconditional love of a pet is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.
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