Adopting a New Pet

When thinking about adopting a new pet such as a cat or dog, there are several things to consider before doing so. Considering all the obligations and requirements before making a commitment is an important first step.

Can I Afford a New Pet?

Pet care can be quite expensive. Besides the obvious requirements such as food and grooming supplies, pets require routine vet examinations and immunizations. Don’t consider getting a new pet if you are financially unable to meet basic veterinary care requirements.

Just like people, pets don’t always remain healthy. They sometimes require vet care other than normal routine exams and preventive measures. If you adopt a pet and can’t afford health care for that pet, you may be faced with an agonizing decision. People who can’t afford expensive treatments and medications are often forced to put sickly or chronically ill pets to sleep.

Do I Have Time For a Pet?

Pets need love and attention just like people. Unfortunately, people who really don’t have time for pets often adopt them anyway.

All pets need attention, but if you work extended hours and can’t be home enough to give a new pet a lot of attention, consider adopting a cat. Cats are independent creatures that don’t usually mind being left alone for several hours at a time. Felines don’t have to go outside, they are content to sleep most of the day, and they have no problem entertaining themselves the rest of the time.

Dogs, on the other hand, are very social creatures. Don’t get a dog unless you have plenty of time to give them the attention they require. It wouldn’t be fair to the animal. Dogs of course must be let outside at regular intervals, and they require lots of love and attention. Some breeds require more attention than others, but dogs in general need to exercise and play on a daily basis.

People sometimes adopt a dog and either chain it up for hours on end or keep it locked up in an outdoor kennel. Don’t get a dog if you are going to ignore it outdoors. Bringing a dog food and water on a daily basis isn’t enough. There is nothing wrong with keeping a dog outdoors as long as it has adequate shelter from the elements, but keep in mind that outdoor dogs still need love, attention, regular nutritious meals, and lots of exercise.

Pet Shops

Some pet shops sell puppies and kittens on a regular basis. Don’t assume that a pet is healthy because it is offered by a pet shop. Most pet shops have a pet’s best interest in mind, but there are those that buy pets from puppy mills in order to make big profits. If you are thinking about adopting a pet from a pet shop, make sure its health is guaranteed in writing.

Private Individuals

Numerous pet ads can be found in newspapers across the country. Sometimes pets are given away for free, and others are sold for profit. Generally a pet can be obtained from a private individual for a fraction of what pet stores charge. Puppies and kittens offered by private individuals still need initial examinations to ensure good health.

When older animals are offered by private individuals, find out why the animal is being given away or sold. Pet owners who love a pet for years don’t suddenly get rid of it without reason. Sometimes older pets are adopted out due to landlord issues, allergies, and other legitimate problems, but older pets are also sometimes given away or sold because of behavior problems, health problems, and litter box issues.

Animal Shelters

The best place to find a new pet is at your local animal shelter. Animals there are desperate for homes. There are “no kill” shelters, but other animal shelters, due to lack of funds and overcrowding, are forced to make the sad choice of euthanasia. When you adopt a pet from the animal shelter, you are saving a life.

Animal shelter employees and volunteers can provide you with the history of the animal you are considering for adoption. Some shelter animals were surrendered by their owner and others were brought in as strays. These animals are all hoping for a loving new home.

Adoption fees vary from shelter to shelter, but most provide first shots, and some include spaying or neutering. Only healthy animals are put up for adoption.

All things considered, adopting from your local animal shelter is the best choice. You will be giving an animal a second chance at life, and you are guaranteed a healthy pet.

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