Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

Adopting an animal is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. Rescued animals can provide a lifetime of companionship and unconditional devotion to their families. However, taking one of these animals into your home should not be done without considering these facts about pet ownership:

  1. Dogs and cats are expensive! The annual cost of food, vaccinations, licensing, medical care, obedience classes for dogs, and other things (toys, leashes, boarding) average between $300-$500 for cats and $400-$600 for dogs. Be prepared for unexpected expenses if a pet is in an accident or falls ill.
  2. Children and animals do not always get along. It is easy for a child to frighten or irritate an animal unintentionally. Children and animals should always be closely supervised when interacting together. A child cannot be expected to take responsibility for a pet until the child is 12-15 years of age.
  3. Dogs and cats are social creatures that do not do well isolated from their families. Dogs and cats kept solely outside frequently develop health and behavior problems due to lack of care and socialization. Pets kept inside with their families are happier, healthier and better-behaved.
  4. Adopting a pet into your home is a lifelong commitment. Pets are not commodities that can be disposed of when they become inconvenient. Before you make the decision to adopt a pet, think about your life now and where you expect to be in the future. Dogs and cats live 15-20 years. Be sure that you can provide for the animal its entire life before you choose to adopt.
  5. Animals require lots of time and energy. All animals need to be fed, groomed, exercised, trained and socialized to varying degrees. If you work or are in school long hours, be prepared to spend much of your free time caring for your pet. Is this something you can work into your schedule for years to come?
  6. Consider other pets in your household. Not all dogs and cats get along with each other. Be sure that current animals will not object to a new arrival.
  7. Be prepared to deal with some behavioral problems. Animals, like people, aren't perfect. Before you adopt an animal, be sure that you have the time and money to deal with potential problems of fearfulness, housebreaking difficulties, barking, scratching, chewing and territorial marking. Most behavior problems can be solved with minimum time and effort on the part of the owner.

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