Adopting a pet into your home can add love and companionship to your life. You might have grown up with pets or maybe you’ve just always wanted one. Whatever the case may be, it can be a big decision. A pet, after all, becomes a member of your household.

Adopting a Pet

5 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

If you’re thinking about adopting a pet, make sure to take your time during the process. Don’t make a spontaneous or knee-jerk choice. There are a lot of aspects to consider when taking in a furry, feathered, or scaled friend. Keep reading for a list of things to think about before you move forward with adopting a pet.

1. Cost of Care

Though you can’t put a price on love, the cost of adding a pet to your family is a consideration. No matter what type of critter you select, it will cost you money. Different species and breed types come with different care costs though. Check your budget to see what you can afford.

A single goldfish or betta fish, for example, won’t cost very much. After the initial gallon tank purchase and decorations, water and fish food are what you’d need. Cats or dogs will require more care through veterinarian bills for shots, kennels, toys, and beds. And don’t forget food. Depending on the breed, you might find yourself getting several pounds of food a month. You then have to consider your pet’s nutritional needs like if they will need fresh dog food.

2. Personal Needs

In addition to considering your budget, think of what you need in your life. Do you have a lot of space for a pet to roam or are you in a smaller apartment? Are you gone all the time or more of a homebody? Do you have any allergies to dander? Are you wanting to engage with the pet a lot or have an animal that is more self-reliant?

Answering these questions can help you narrow down the species and/or breed of your pet. If you’re rarely home, a dog might not be the best choice for you. Perhaps a cat or a reptile that is more self-sufficient is right up your alley. If you know you want a dog but have bad allergies, perhaps a doodle breed is in your future. Some dogs also need more exercise than others, so pick a breed that works with your lifestyle.

3. Shelter or Breeder

In your quest, think about where you’d like to get your new friend from. If you’re looking for a fish or lizard, you may have to go to a pet store. For cats and dogs, you have several options for rehoming. Shelters and places like your local Humane Society have pets looking for their forever home. Starting your search there can give love to an animal who hasn’t found their human yet.

Adopting a pet this way is likely less expensive than buying from a breeder as well. They often are already spayed or neutered and have had their vaccinations. If you have allergies or are looking for a specific breed, you may have to turn to a breeder. Look for a kind and reputable professional if you go this route. Stay clear of puppy mills. Aside from ethical concerns, inbreeding can lead to serious health problems down the line.

4. Responsibility

Adding a new member to your family adds more responsibility. While it’s exciting to get a baby bird, puppy, or kitten, they come with obligations. You now have another living creature to care for. You have to learn how to juggle your needs with their well-being and happiness.

This responsibility includes pet-proofing your home. If you’re gone for an extended time, you have to secure boarding or have a pet-sitter. Your schedule might get interrupted when your pet is sick and needs to go to the vet. You also will have to sacrifice what you want to do at times. Dogs need walks and places to use the bathroom. If there’s an emergency, you may have to cancel plans to get your fur-baby to the vet.

5. Time

As with responsibility, your time is a big factor to consider before pet adoption. How much time do you have to give to another living being? If you’re working crazy hours and travel a lot for work, it might not be the right time for a pet. However, if you have more free time to give to another, maybe now is the time.

Remote workers, for example, could be in a good position to adopt a puppy. They are home during the day and have the time to give needed attention, love, and training. Make sure you have space in your schedule for vet check ups and getting your pet to exercise too. Different breeds require different amounts of time to burn off energy. If you don’t have that available, perhaps a smaller breed of dog or a cat would be better for you.

Bringing a pet into your home is a big decision. You’re adding a new member to your family. Don’t make a spontaneous choice. Think through the questions outlined above before getting attached to a fuzzy animal.

You want your pet to be a blessing, not a stressful curse. Taking time to understand the full scope of what adopting a pet means can help make for a successful rehoming experience. Make the right choice for you and your current situation. Doing so in a well-thought-out way can bring you and your new loved one many years of happiness.