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6 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

6 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

Peanut butter and Jelly. Peas and carrots. Glam rock and hairspray. Some things were just made for each other. And if you’re thinking about adopting a pet, consider these six questions before you bring home your new best friend. Be honest with yourself, and take the time to make the right choice, and you guys could be the next Motley Crue.

Why are you adopting a pet?

Are you really ready for the responsibility that comes with a new pet, or are you grasping at a way to fill an emotional void in your own life? Hasty adoption of a dog isn’t the way to get over your recent break up or furnish your Second grader with a cuddly playmate.

Are you in it for the long haul?

Some dogs can live to be well over ten years old, and cats can live as much as 20 years. You were married twice, and changed careers from welder to shoe salesman to bartender in the last decade. With a resume like that, who knows what’s in store down the road. Are you committed to providing a stable, loving home for an animal for the next ten or twenty years?

How compatible is the dog’s energy level with yours?

Is your idea of a busy weekend piloting the remote control while surfing Tinder for new matches? Perhaps that spunky puppy at the shelter would be better suited for someone who’s already run six miles and had a kale smoothie by the time you roll out of bed. Before you adopt a new dog, consider how compatible a dog’s energy is with your own lifestyle. The only thing more sad than bringing a dog to a shelter is bringing one back to the shelter because it wasn’t a good match. Remember that it’s difficult to gauge a dog’s energy level when she’s locked up in a cage. Ask the staff if you can take her for a walk to get a better idea of how much zing you can expect when you get home.

Can you afford to care for a new companion animal?

The adoption fee and first round of vaccinations are like a small bowl of miso soup before a lavish sushi dinner. Are you scouring the floorboards for loose change and clipping coupons to put food on the table every week? By the time you add up premium quality pet food, preventative veterinary care, grooming, and other routine expenses, the annual cost to have a pet can feel more like a country club membership than a Sam’s Club membership.

How much time will you have together?

Does that quick beer at happy hour always seem to turn into last call. Does the extended-stay business suite at the Hilton seem more familiar than your living room? Remember that dogs require several hours of companionship and exercise every day. Deprive them of it, and destructive behavior problems will develop.

Are you committed to training your new dog?

Remember your grand plan to practice every day and be the next Tiger Woods? Now you’re not even sure if the clubs are in the basement or the attic. Will you dedicate the time and energy that’s required to train your new dog, even if he may already have some bad habits? Basic obedience training can prevent the behavior problems that are the biggest reason pets end up in shelters in the first place.