Bringing a new pet home can be both exciting and overwhelming, depending on how well you prepare before hand. Impulse adoptions rarely go smoothly and are a big reason why shelters are overloaded with surrendered pets. This guide is meant to help potential pet owners feel confident that their decision to adopt is a good one.
- Cost: Whether you adopt from a shelter or a breeder, you are most likely going to have to pay and adoption fees can range from the hundreds to the thousands. There are also vet fees, as well as the cost of buying food and supplies on a regular basis.
- Time: Before you begin the adoption process, decide whether or not you have time to properly care for a new pet. Even though your kids may have promised to do all the work, it’s a safe bet that the burden will fall on your shoulders. Pets need a lot of attention as boredom and built up energy will often lead to behavioral problems.
- Breed: If you are thinking of adopting a cat or dog, be aware that certain breeds have different requirements. For instance, a longhaired cat needs more frequent grooming than a shorthaired cat, and a Jack Russell Terrier needs more exercise and mental stimulation than an English Bulldog. If you do not have a big, fenced-in yard, a Border Collie may not be the best match for you. For large breed dogs, like Great Danes and Bernese Mountain Dogs, care must be taken to prevent orthopedic issues.
- Where to go: There are pros and cons to adopting, regardless of where you adopt from. Breeders can charge into the thousands and it is known that certain genetic disorders are more prevalent in pure bred animals. On the other hand, a breeder can usually show you an animal’s blood line, making it easier to predict certain things like size and personality. Adopting from a shelter can be much more cost effective and helps to reduce the number of homeless animals in shelters. There are even plenty of shelters that specialize in purebreds. Mixed breeds are less likely to be effected by the genetic disorders associated with purebreds, but it is difficult to predict things like size and personality.
- Vet: Once you decide to adopt, you should bring your new pet to the vet as soon as possible for an initial checkup, vaccinations, deworming, and to schedule future procedures like spaying or neutering.
If you have decided that you are ready to adopt a new pet, it should be a family decision, but be sure the excitement is kept to a minimum. You should have all the supplies you need before bringing your new pet home, including food, bowls, cages, crates, beds, collars, and leashes. Remember to be patient during training and don’t expect too much too soon. Most importantly, keep in mind the reason why you adopted in the first place. Setbacks during training or changes to your family, home, or life make it easy to forget. Do not give up on your pet and you will have a loving and loyal companion for many years.
Nick has been working at Braxton’s since 2009
and is currently in charge of the store’s monthly
email newsletter, the Pet Gazette.