If you have children you have inevitably heard the begging and pleading for a puppy, kitten, fish, bird, rabbit, hamster or even a pony. Yes, adopting an animal can be an exciting time for any family, but before you give in to the begging, ask yourself these simple questions to ensure you get a pet that fits all of your family’s needs.
Where Do I Live?
Where you reside can play a large role in what sort of animal fits best with you. If you are in a small home, a Great Dane may not be the perfect fit for you; a cat may work out better. Make sure and do your research before you adopt. Some animals that are small still need lots of room to play and jump around. However, there are also larger breeds that are calmer and may do better in a smaller setting. Do you have a fenced in yard? This may be of interest if you are planning to get a dog that will need to run around and play outdoors. Also be considerate of your neighbors. If you live in an apartment with paper thin walls, you may want to avoid an animal that tends to make a lot of noise. A cat, rabbit or fish may be more suitable for you. Also, do you need to get permission from your landlord before bringing a pet into your home? By determining your living arrangement, you can quickly narrow down your pet preferences to find a pet for you.
What is My Budget?
We know puppies, kittens and bunnies can be cute, but don’t let those cute eyes looking up at you sway you into adopting an animal that is out of your price range. By looking at what you can reasonably afford before you enter a shelter, you are informed on what the average yearly cost of an animal is and whether or not you can fit that into your budget. Not only will you have fees for the adoption and licensing of certain animals, but you will also have to factor in medical care, food, toys, bedding, crates, litter, fresh greens, etc. Figure out ahead of time what you can comfortably spend each year on the care of a pet and from there determine what type of pet could fit into your budget.
Who is Caring for this Pet?
What does your schedule you like? Are you always on the go? Do you travel a lot? Do you like to spend a lot of time at home? Answering these questions can help you decide the right fit. If you are a person who works long hours and doesn’t spend a lot of time at home then getting a fish or iguana may be a good fit for you because they require less hands-on care when compared to a dog or cat. Are you the sole person caring for this animal or do you have roommates or family members also involved? You may want to also factor in your children. Will they be helping with the care of your new pet? By determining who is caring for the pet and the schedules they keep, you will be able to choose a pet that can fit easily into your current lifestyle. This will also help you determine if you have the time and commitment to properly care for your pet.
Are There Medical Concerns in Your Household?
Many people are allergic to certain types of pets. From cats and dogs to bunnies and birds, knowing if you have medical limitations will help you in the long run determine a good pet for your household. Often times at our shelter we get adopters who don’t realize they are even allergic until the animal is in their home. We recommend that if this may be an issue or concern for you, try to do something like a foster to adopt program. Here at our shelter, for someone who wants to give a pet a test run, they are able to foster the pet over three days. If the pet is working out with their lifestyle then they can adopt the pet and give the forever home he or she needs. However, if for some reason the animal doesn’t fit with your schedule, lifestyle or medical needs, you can return the pet within that three day window with no added expense to you.
Remember, giving a forever home to a homeless pet is an amazing and rewarding thing to do. However, it is also a commitment and we want you and your animal to be on the road to a successful life together from the second you leave the shelter. By answering these questions, you are setting yourself up for success!
Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at AskBrian@hsdayton.org. Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded 113 years ago, it is the largest and most established no-kill animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937- 268-PETS (7387) or visit www.hsdayton.org.