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Are you ready for a pet?

Posted on May 7, 2015 in Ideas & Lifestyle, Newsletters by | Comments
Are you ready for a pet?

There are many proven benefits to having a pet (a happier, longer life for example), but as cute and cuddly as they can be, adding a new member to the household isn’t a decision to take lightly. We spoke to Joey Teixiera from the ASPCA about the things to consider, here’s what he advises.

1. Why do you want a pet?
The first step as a prospective owner is to think carefully about why you want a pet, and to be clear on that. Perhaps you are looking to have a more active lifestyle, or if you live in a rural area, to help with hunting. Whatever your reason is, you are investing in a long-term companion, and that needs to factor into your motivation.

2. Consider your lifestyle
There are lots of options to consider when it comes to what sort of pet you should get—and many depend on your lifestyle. Think about how much disposable time you have. If you are out of the house a lot, then a puppy or kitten is probably not a good match. If you have plenty of time, a younger pet could suit you, especially one that needs lots of exercise and attention. If you have less time, perhaps adopting an older dog could work, because they like to lie around more and their exercise demands aren’t as high.

3. It’s a lifestyle change: Are you ready for the commitment?
This part is really important. When you take on a pet, it’s for the course of their life. That’s 10-15 years for dogs, and 15-20 for cats. You need to factor in time for training your pet, its exercise, and feeding. Then there’s the microchipping and vet visits. Make no mistake: It can get expensive. Not everyone is ready for that, and when it comes to responsible pet ownership, you need to be!

4. Is your family ready?
A good way of testing is volunteering for a foster group. That way you and your family get to interact with dogs and cats, and there are no penalties. There’s a program run by the ASPCA called Foster First, where families can take home a pet for a month to see how it works out before committing.

5. Pet-proof your home
This is similar to child-proofing: You need to make the environment safe and appropriate for a pet. Little things that could be dangerous for the animal to eat or swallow have to go, and crate training and baby gates might need to be considered. If you are getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise perhaps a dog walker is needed, as well as some social training.

6. Be educated about where you are getting your pet
You want to avoid puppy mills (where most pet shop puppies come from). If you are dealing with a breeder, make sure you obtain references from people who have obtained animals from them before. We want people to know that shelter pets are just as good as pets from any where else! If you are looking for a specific breed, do check adoption sites to find a shelter in your area.