If you are planning on adopting your first pet, congratulations. Our pets become more than just animals living under our roof. They often become our best friends, lifelong companions, and our “fur babies” whom we consider to be four-legged members of our family.
Prior to adopting your first pet, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to help make the transition into pet ownership easier for you – and for your future pet. The time spent researching the topic is guaranteed to pay off in the long run:
“What breed is right for me?”
For a variety of reasons, there are some breeds that are a much better fit for a first-time pet owner than others. This goes far beyond asking yourself if you are a cat person or a dog person (although that’s important, too). Instead, save yourself some stress by doing your homework before adopting a new pet. Discover as much as you can about the breed, its maintenance level, its personality traits, potential genetic health conditions, and any other factors that might make it a good (or bad) fit for you. This includes affordability. For example, if you consider a large breed that is prone to hip displasia, you could be facing hefty medical bills. If you think you might not be able to afford that down the road, it’s better to consider a different breed.
“Do I have time for a pet?”
How will you ensure your pet is properly cared for while you’re at work? Some pets, such as cats, are known for being more independent than other types of pets. Meanwhile, some types of animals such as dogs are more high maintenance and require more attention.
“Will getting a pet make my allergies worse?”
This question is about more than just pet allergies; it refers to all types of environmental allergies. Although it’s true that there are some hypoallergenic breeds of dogs and cats these days – which is great news for allergic pet lovers – it’s important to realize that even the so-called hypoallergenic breeds can still be responsible for unknowingly bringing environmental allergens such as pollen indoors.
“How can I help guarantee my pet’s safety?”
For one thing, you’ll definitely want to prepare your home for a new pet before bringing it home to stay. In order to keep your pet out of harm’s way, you’ll want to pet proof your home. The American Humane Society offers a great list of tips for how to make your home safe for many types of pets, including cats and dogs.
“How can I help my pet acclimate to his or her new home?”
Consider how to make the adjustment process easier on your pet – and yourself – during the days, weeks and months after you bring your pet home. This takes some proactive planning. By being patient and compassionate, and by gently bonding with your new pet, you can gradually earn your pet’s trust and ease fears and anxieties. This is especially important for rescue pets, which are more likely to be fearful and uneasy at first.
This list of questions may seem overwhelming at first glance, but it’s really crucial for you to work through each question before making a life-changing decision such as pet adoption. It’s also important to understand that you can live a happy, healthy life with your pets – even if you have a busy work schedule, allergies, a family, or other factors that sometimes prevent people like yourself from adopting a pet. Good luck!