All About Pets

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Decisions to make before adopting a pet

Pets make great additions to households. Parents often find that bringing a pet into their homes is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in their children, while singles or couples embrace the companionship that devoted pets provide.

Adoption is the route many prospective pet owners prefer to take when bringing new pets into their homes. Shelter animals are in need of good homes and providing such an environment to animals others have abandoned or were forced to give up can make new pet owners feel better about themselves. But in an effort to make their transitions to pet ownership go more smoothly, men and women should make certain decisions before adding any furry friends to their family dynamic.

Responsibility

Pets are a big responsibility, but some pets are easier to care for than others. Fish, for example, don't require as much effort on the part of pet owners as dogs do. Prospective pet owners should discuss how much responsibility they are willing to take on and just who will be handling the bulk of the caretaking. Prospective pet owners who don't feel like they can take on much additional responsibility might want to avoid adopting dogs, which need daily walks and exercise, in favor of cats, which don't require as much attention, or other pets that do not require as significant a time commitment.

Budget

Prospective pet owners also should develop a budget before visiting a shelter or speaking to an adoption agency. Pets, even if they are adopted, can be expensive additions to a home, and it's easy for prospective pet owners to fall in love with an animal and bring it home only to realize down the road that the cost of keeping the animal is beyond their means. When adopting a pet, men and women should expect to pay adoption fees and pay for an initial veterinary visit, which may include vaccinations, the cost of which can quickly add up. In addition to those initial costs, pet owners will need to pay for other items, such as bedding (or cages if adopting a bird), food and toys, and those items are not necessarily one-time costs.

Budget also must come into play when deciding which animal to adopt. Certain breeds of dog, for example, are predisposed to certain health conditions that can make caring for them an expensive proposition. Prospective dog owners on limited budgets should avoid adopting breeds whose care will stretch or exceed their budgets in favor of dogs that are unlikely to do so.

Lifestyle

Prospective pet owners must be willing to change their lifestyles when they adopt a new pet. Some pets won't require their owners to make many changes at all, while others can dramatically alter the lifestyles their owners may have grown accustomed to. Prospective pet owners should decide how willing they are to change their lifestyles and let that willingness guide their adoption decision. Those who want to change their lifestyle as little as possible may be best suited to pets that need little attention, while those ready and willing to make more significant changes may be ready to bring a dog into their homes.

Men and women unsure about the lifestyle changes they will have to make to welcome dogs into their homes may want to consider fostering dogs before they adopt their own. Fostering can give prospective pet owners more accurate ideas of the commitment required to adequately care for a pet as they try to decide if that commitment is one they are capable of making.

Adopting pets is a great way for animal lovers to make positive impacts on the lives of animals in need of homes. But prospective adopters should first make certain decisions about pet ownership to ensure their transitions to pet owners go as smoothly as possible.