What To Consider Before Adopting a Pet

You're thinking about adopting a pet and you are excited about it. You don't know many things about pets, only that they are cute and loving companions. So you go and get Flippy or Daisy and you bring them home. Then you realize that you don't know much about pets and start asking questions. Too late! Questions should be asked before bringing a pet at home. Pet ownership is for a lifetime!

Many people don't have a clue about the responsibilities related with pet ownership. They may have good intentions but they soon realize that having a pet at home is not as easy as they thought it would be and this revelation can often lead to tragedy.

Most people, either children or adults want a pet because they find it "cute" They watch movies, TV shows with adorable baby animals, which by the way are already trained and their desire for a pet is getting bigger. Usually their desire is directed to a puppy or a kitten, (often a specific breed) and finally they bring it at home. Everyone is happy and wants to take the furry little thing in their lap, cuddle it and play with it.

When the issue comes to who's going to take care of it, then the excitement wears off since nobody wants to do it.

People who never had a pet don't have the slightest idea of how it is to take care of one. They think it's easy, put some food and water in their bowls twice a day and that's it. Their new furry friend will be playful and happy whenever they want. After all, how much trouble can a loving little thing cause?

Surprise, surprise!

A pet in your house is like a child in your house. In fact at some point your child grows up and doesn't need your care any more, they become independent and leave your house to live on their own. The same thing won't happen with your pet. Your pet will always be a child that will require your attention and care as long as it is with you. So, there are a lot of things to consider before taking the serious decision of adopting a pet.

Getting a pet is not like buying a car. It's a living creature so if you don't get along it is not easy to get rid of it of change it for something else. When you adopt a pet you become the animal's "parent" as long as it lives. You must keep in mind that, a dog for example has an average life expectancy of 14-15 years. So, for the next 14-15 years or so, it will be your responsibility!

It's like having a baby at home. You can't send it back because it doesn't meet your expectations or because it's different than what you thought it would be. Or can you? I hope not. The same kind of responsibility must be in your minds when you are thinking of getting a pet.

A pet is not a video game. You don't just shut it down when you're finished playing with it and expect it to just sit waiting for you until you decide to come back. Puppies are like young children. They need a lot of sleep but when they are not asleep they are wondering around the house looking for fun! A puppy who's just started growing teeth will find a lot of fun and pleasure in chewing your favourite shoes or slippers. At this point many people start losing their patience and instead of finding a way to divert the puppy's attention to something else, they get rid of it in an animal shelter, or worse they abandon it in the streets. The only crime of the puppy was in fact that it was a puppy! Puppies are not destructive and naughty just because they want to make you furious. It's just what they do. If you are considering of getting one you must rearrange your home first, so the puppy will not have access to things you don't want to be destroyed. Another good idea is buying a lot of chew toys. You can be sure that the puppy will choose them instead of your shoes.

Another important issue to consider is which breed you are fond of and would like to obtain. Every breed has special characteristics and even though you'd love to get a puppy of a certain breed, this may not be the right one for you. There are certain things to consider, for instance will it be easy to train, will it be a shy dog or a hyperactive that will require many walks during the day, will there be any health problems with the breed you chose, etc. You may adore a Labrador or a German Shepherd but if you live in a small apartment, maybe you should reconsider. Large dogs require space to run and play and they'll feel depressed in a confined space. Also some large breeds develop back or hip problems that will require extra health care especially when they are getting older.

Pets also cost money to raise and maintain, just like children do. You must buy pet food, pay several bills to the vet when your beloved friend needs vaccines or medical care, monthly expenses such as heartworm and flea control and maybe grooming bills. You must also remember that you'll have extra costs when you leave for vacation and leave the animal in a pet hotel. My point is, if you're not fully aware of the cost of having an animal, maybe you should reconsider. Of course they worth every penny you'll spend for them and they'll pay you back with their unconditioned love, but still you should know all about it.

Another thing you must consider is neutering-spaying your pet. If you don't plan on breeding it, you must go to a vet and have it neutered-spayed. There are a lot of people who don't like depriving sex from their pet. Don't think like them! It is a fact that if you don't get your pet neutered while being young there will be many problems in the future and most important, health problems. If you don't spay your female dog, it's quite possible to develop cancer in its uterus in later life.

Many male or female dogs become short-tempered and anxious because they are not allowed to mate and this is against their nature.

Some people think that they can solve this problem if they allow their dog to mate at least once. Some others like the idea of having a puppy of their dog before being spayed. I strongly disagree with these tactics. First it is very irresponsible to allow pets to reproduce without control. Overpopulation in pets is a very serious problem. Every year 10-12 million pets are euthanized by shelters because they can't find homes for them. Why would anyone of you want to add to this number? Second, dogs should be neutered-spayed before they sexually mature in order to avoid health problems in the future. If you think I'm lying, just ask a vet..

To make a long story short, if you plan to obtain a pet, be responsible and have it neutered-spayed. You may think that you'll earn money by selling the puppies, if you have a purebred. You must know though that there are no guarantees that you'll sell all the puppies and even if you do, you must consider that, for every puppy you sell, there's one waiting in a shelter somewhere and may die without being adopted.

The dog breeding business, has its responsible professionals but also its lousy ones. There are several puppy mills where the poor animals live in awful, unsanitary and crowded conditions. Many breeders just don't care even a little bit about their health. These breeders mate males and females from the same litter and this can cause several health problems later in the life of the dog. For example many Dalmatians suffer from deafness due to inbreeding.

So, why are you looking so badly for a purebred and you doing not consider getting a mixed breed? They are also very cute and much healthier but still, they are not people's first choice.

Why not adopt a pet from the Humane Society or your local SPCA? At least you can give them a chance even if what you really want is a specific breed. There are several advantages if you adopt an adult dog from a shelter or from one of the many breed-specific rescue operations. You can be sure that you've done a good deed by adopting a pet this way and you've saved it from being euthanized.

Some more useful thoughts...

-Don't ever consider giving a pet as a gift to someone, especially not a child. (Unless the child is yours and you clearly know that you'll be the pet's caregiver) Whoever is going to obtain a pet must do it on his own will and he must have considered everything about raising it.

-Don't bring live chicks or bunnies to your children as Easter gifts. It's cruel, they are small breathing creatures. Chicks grow into chicken, so unless you have a farm you shouldn't even think about buying one.

-Do learn what pet ownership is all about. You must have an idea about the cost, in terms of time and money. Also, a good thing to know is how getting a pet is going to change your style of life.

With all that I've mentioned above you must think that I'm not encouraging pet ownership. On the contrary, I LOVE animals, I have six dogs and two cats and I'm in a position to know what is this all about and speak about the responsibilities that pet owners should face. After all, I'm a pet owner myself. Having a pet is happiness but also means a lot of responsibilities and compromises in your private life. All I'm saying is that you should know all about it before making your decision. Pets may be very cute and sweet but trust me, they hide a lot of surprises, surprises you must be ready to deal with!