Whether your kids have been bugging you to adopt one or you’ve been itching to get one, getting a family pet is a huge responsibility and one that will have a tremendous impact on your life’s day-to-day. Considering it from all angles is crucial before adopting a pet so as not to end up having to give back the animal to a shelter when you ultimately decide that he/she isn’t a good fit for your family. For prospecting parents, here are seven tips to know about getting a family pet.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Families looking to get a pet for their family should choose the adoption route rather than buy from puppy mills that are notorious for over-breeding and exploiting animals. Adoption centers and shelters can only take in a certain volume of rescues, which means some are put down if they are not adopted after an allotted time. By adopting, you help save an animal’s life. Adopting also gives you a better support structure as rescue organizations and shelters can give you specific tips and instructions on how to care for your new pet and can suggest veterinarians in your area.
Pets Can Be Expensive
Bringing home a pet can cost you thousands of dollars in vet bills, treats and food, toys, bedding, daycare services, and so on. Routine checkups and vaccinations alone can cost you a few hundred dollars right off the bat. If your dog gets a foxtail stuck up his nose or your cats get a limp leg, you’re looking at a few thousand dollars easy. Pet owners should consider getting pet insurance for their new family members to offset some if not all of the medical costs.
Pets Can Have Behavioral Issues
When people think of a family pet, movie scenes of dogs and cats being obedient and unproblematic come into mind – a Golden Retriever playing fetch at the park or a Corgi cuddling up to you in bed. But what people don’t realize is that many domesticated animals can develop behavioral issues – snapping at other dogs while outside, biting people unprovoked, peeing or defecating inside the house, etcetera. Before getting a pet for the family, consider if you have the patience and skills to train a pet with behavioral issues.
Pets Need Space
Families looking to get a pet should consider how much space their new companion requires to live comfortably and compare it with how much space they actually have to spare. Whether or not the pet is compatible with your household will depend on what animal you plan on bringing home, be it a family of hamsters or a 150-lb Great Dane, as well as.
Pets Require Attention
Even fish in a bowl requires attention, even more so a dog or cat. A dog will need frequent walks to the park to exercise and socialize. On average, you’re looking at a minimum of two hours of your day taking care of your pet. Think about who in the family can spare the time to do the walks, feeding, grooming, etcetera.
Some Pets Are Fragile
Pets, like hamsters and rabbits, are great additions to the family but they are also very fragile thus proper handling is key to safely caring for these critters. Small dogs and cats may also require higher standards of maintenance than what most families realize. Some dogs can have dietary restrictions or allergies that they need medication for.
Some Pets Are Restricted From Certain Living Conditions
If you live in the city, chances are your family is staying at an apartment building. If so, check your lease contract or with your building management to see if the type of animal you’re planning to bring home is allowed. Even certain dog breeds are restricted from some apartment buildings, such as Pit bulls and Alaskan Malamutes.
Having a family pet changes the whole dynamics of the group for the better. It instills an even greater sense of responsibility amongst your kids, gives your family something to bond over, and strengthens your relationship with each other. Before contacting a rescue group or local shelter, check these seven boxes to make sure that you understand the level of commitment and the number of resources needed to be a pet owner. For more info and guides on your favorite dog breeds, check out Bark Friend.