Over 85 million families own a pet in the United States. Adopting a pet is something many people would like to do; however, before picking up your new best friend, there are some considerations to think about.
Do You Have Enough Space?
Space can be a large issue, especially if you’re looking to get a larger dog breed. While this usually isn’t an issue for cats, dogs can require more room to move and stay active. Homes that lack interior space or yard space can prevent dogs from receiving the proper amount of exercise that they need to stay healthy.
Smaller pets such as rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, and the like don’t have space requirements such as these; however, rabbits, for instance, will need enough space to be able to run about. Depending on the type of pet you’re considering adopting, taking into consideration your space limitations can be a huge deciding factor. That said, if you want a pet, but are lacking space, it’s worth considering a smaller pet such as a hamster, gerbil, or bird. Pets like this can provide excellent companionship without needed too much space to stay active.
Does Your Landlord Allow Pets?
Around 27% of Americans were renting their homes in 2016. If you’re currently renting a home or apartment, it’s worth looking over your lease agreement to see if there are any stipulations on pet ownership. Some landlords will specify that tenants can have only specific types of pets, for example, cats, while others will prohibit pets of any kind.
If you don’t see anything in your lease, reach out to your landlord and speak to them about the issue. Some may allow pets if they feel that the tenant is responsible enough or if they have been renting for years. It’s worth asking if you’re serious about wishing to adopt.
If you are allowed to own a pet, once again take a moment to consider the space requirements. For instance, if you live in an apartment is there enough outdoor space for your dog to stay active? If you live in an urban apartment you may even wish to consider finding a nearby dog park to help supplement their activity needs if they cannot get them at home.
Proper Pet Training and Care
Another important thing to consider is if you can provide the proper training and care that is needed for the type of pet you will be adopting. Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, half of whom are children, according to the CDC. This can be caused by a lack of proper training. Different pets and breeds can even have particular training requirements. For instance, some dog breeds tend to be more hyperactive than others, making training more difficult.
Proper training can also extend to potty training, which can be crucial when living in an apartment or rental home. If you have a cat or dog that isn’t properly trained, you could risk having accidents on the carpet. This can be especially prevalent in dogs that aren’t fixed. Urine marking can usually be stopped with neutering; however, if allowed to continue for too long it can cause damages that you’ll have to pay for.
Proper care is another issue that many pet adoptees don’t fully consider before adopting a pet. Care is more than just feeding and watering. It’s ensuring your pet gets proper exercise, grooming, and medical care when needed. Some dogs, for instance, are predisposed to conditions such as arthritis or severe dysplasia as they age. While these conditions can be managed with proper care, without it they can be in a great deal of discomfort and pain. Medical bills like this are something many owners don’t consider planning for; however, just as with humans, our furry friends need regular checkups and possibly even surgeries in worst-case scenarios. If your pet has to undergo a medical procedure you could be facing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars depending on the issue, and if you’re not financially prepared, this could be devastating.
With all of that said, owning a pet isn’t necessarily going to break your bank. One way of thinking about it is similar to a child. Just like with our children we take care of all a pet’s necessities; however, there is always the chance that something could go wrong. While you can buy a pet insurance plan, many pet owners still see coverage like this as unnecessary, at least until it’s needed.
Overall, you can never know exactly what you’re going to be facing when you decide to adopt any type of pet. Financing and making sure that you have the time and dedication to properly train and care for them are huge aspects that should be seriously considered before bringing home an animal.
Adopt or Shop?
This is one difficult choice that anyone looking to buy a pet faces. Should you adopt a pet or buy from a breeder? While specific breeds and animals may need to be specially bought, for a majority of people adopting will be the way to go. A couple of the most significant reasons to adopt include:
- Saving an Animal: Each year over 1.5 million animals in shelters are euthanized. While this is a decline from 2.6 million in 2011, any number above zero is still too high. Adopting from a shelter allows you to save the life of an animal that would otherwise face euthanization. This also prevents you from unknowingly supporting puppy or kitten mills which work as for-profit facilities that undervalue the welfare of animals. Pets from facilities like this also usually come with underlying medical issues due to having improper medical care.
- Saving Money: While you can’t put a price on saving the life of an animal, adopting will cost you much less than buying. Most shelters will vaccinate and spay or neuter pets before adoption. This prevents you from having to pay for these services yourself. The animals will also have additional access to much better medical care meaning they are more likely to be healthier.
- Supporting Older Pets: Adopting an older pet is also something to keep in mind. Many older animals in shelters will have already been trained and will require much less energy than a new pet. Furthermore, because many people overlook older pets, you are will also be helping to take care of an animal that may have otherwise been forgotten about. Older animals can bring just as much love and joy into a home as a new pet.
- Support: Shelters will also offer support should you ever have concerns or questions. They will be able to advise you on the best foods to buy, the types of activities that are best, or any medical issues you may be curious or worried about. A support network like this is something you will miss out on if you buy.
A New Best Friend
If you’re considering adopting a new pet, these considerations may seem like a lot to take in. However, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of being able to care for your pet properly. Just as we need space and finances to care for our children, so to do we need them for our pets.
At the end of the day, think through your options and look into the different types of pets available. You may even want to make a day to go around and meet various pets to see which types you get along with most. You never know what kind of amazing new companion you could be bringing home.