If you are considering adopting an animal companion, you may already have definite ideas about what type of pet you and your family want. Assessing your current living situation and the amount of time and effort you can afford to spend on your new pet, however, can help you to avoid making an impractical choice for your family and your lifestyle. Here are some points to consider before making that trip to the pet store or animal shelter.
Depending on your preferences, you may be thinking of adopting a puppy or an adult dog from a local shelter or buying one from a responsible breeder. Dogs at any age require a great deal of attention, training and exercise to stay healthy and happy. However, certain advantages and drawbacks may make an older dog or a puppy more attractive and appropriate for your particular situation:
- Puppies require constant attention and training to ensure proper socialization. They also must be housebroken to reduce the chance of accidents inside the home. Consistent and repeated effort is required to ensure the success of the house-training process.
- Some older dogs may have been in an abusive environment in the past. Because aggressive and unfriendly dogs are usually weeded out of the shelter system, however, most pets in these facilities are well suited to family life. In most cases, older dogs are house trained and many co-exist well with cats and other animals, making them a safer and more compassionate choice for many families.
Before adopting a dog, take a hard look at your current schedule. If you cannot fit regular walks and training sessions into your daily routine, you are probably not ready for the long-term commitment of dog ownership.
Cats are an ideal pet for apartment dwellers and others who may not have a great deal of time to spend with a pet during the day. Cats still require a good deal of love and exercise, however. A vigorous play session each morning and evening can usually help even the most active cats expend their energy in a healthy way. Most cats learn to use the litter box and to socialize appropriately from their mothers and siblings. It is important not to remove kittens from their mothers until after eight weeks of age. Kittens that are rehomed at too young an age may exhibit inappropriate behavior and may require added training and socialization throughout their lives.
Fish can provide hours of enjoyment for their owners with a minimal but correct amount of care for their environments. Salt-water tanks may require added attention on the part of owners to ensure the proper pH levels and temperature for tropical fish.
Considering your current lifestyle and your available free time can help you select a suitable pet for yourself and your family. A little due diligence before you adopt can ensure the right fit for a lifetime of happy pet ownership.