Adopting an animal is a beautiful act of love. You won’t just be rescuing your new animal friend, you’ll also be opening up shelter space for one of the 6.5 million companion animals in need. And to top it all off, you get to soak up all the joys of pet parenthood!
But before you watch a million YouTube videos of adorable kittens and decide to turn your home into a rescue shelter — here are 5 important things to consider before adopting a pet.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind before adopting a pet
1. Know what to avoid
The ASCPA reports, the majority of pets end up at shelters because they are either:
b.) Rescued from cruel circumstances
c.) “Surrendered” — meaning, they’re animals that no longer can be cared for due to “financial, behavioral or other unforeseen barriers.”
Check out the top six reasons pets are given up by owners (according to a study by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy) and make sure you won’t fall into any of them.
- Landlord not allowing pet
- Too many animals in household
- Cost of pet maintenance
- Owner having personal problems
- Inadequate facilities
2. Research, research!
Be real with yourself about what’s realistic and what’s not. Your living situation, work life, and support system will all be things to consider before adopting. Know the specific needs of the animal you are adopting and be sure you can provide them.
3. Prepare your wallet
People greatly underestimate the costs of owning a pet, according to CNBC.
The PDSA reports that the cost of dog parenthood is between $27,074 and $42,545 (depending on the breed). While cat parenthood is between $21,917 and $30,942. Not chump change!
4. If you have roommates or live with others, make sure everyone is on board
The truth is, when you bring a pet into a home it will change the living dynamics for everyone. Accidents happen. So do snuggles.
Communication about expectations is key and confirming everyone is on the same page at the start will set a healthy tone for the journey.
5. If you’re giving a pet as a gift (which we don’t recommend!) be sure the receiver REALLY wants the pet
Unfortunately, some shelters report particularly high numbers of animals being surrendered to shelters in January.
Some say it’s because many give pets as Christmas presents without fully considering the responsibility. Others suggest the high rates are often due to finances getting strained after holiday spending.
Whatever the reason, it’s one thing to say “I want a dog” and it’s another to actually want and be ready for a dog. Make sure you know the difference.
Ultimately, loving animals and becoming a pet parent don’t always go hand in hand. Thankfully, adoption is not the only way to show love to animals! Hello, pet-sitting, volunteering, and donating to organizations like The Best Friends Animal Society, which is dedicated to “bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets.” Yes, yes, yes!
Already own a pet? Check out this post: 10 ways to be the most eco-friendly pet parent
And read more posts about animals here:
- 4 Inspiring animal rescues you have to know about
- 18 Cute and meaningful gifts for all the animal lovers in your life
- Quiz: Do you have a cat or a dog personality?