Pet ownership is one of life’s biggest blessings, but it’s also a big responsibility. Furry companions bring tons of joy, laughter, and connection to your home. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the long list of duties that come with owning an animal. Therefore proper preparation is crucial to a successful adoption process.
Consider how owning a pet will fit into your unique lifestyle, and be ready to adjust your routine as necessary. While it’s impossible to plan for everything, there’s plenty to do before your new family member arrives. Here are five things to consider before adopting a pet and some tips for making it successful.
1. Needed Supplies
Gathering all necessary supplies before bringing home your new furry BFF is an important first step. The top items will likely include food, leashes, toys, and grooming tools. In addition, secure a carrier to help get your new pet from one place to another. You might also need a kennel or puppy gates to keep your new friend where they need to be.
Some supplies, like collars, food bowls, and treat jars, likely won’t require multiple purchases. However, other items like kitty litter, fresh dog food, and preventive medications will need to be purchased repeatedly. Signing up for routine deliveries from your favorite pet supplier is a smart way to ensure your animal always has what it needs.
The space you live in can set some pretty strict perimeters around the type of pet you can comfortably adopt. For example, a Great Dane might not be the best fit for a 500-square-foot studio apartment. Adopting a dog is also easier if you live in a place with ample outdoor access. If you don’t have a yard, look up nearby dog parks and other areas for your pup to play. Cats or other smaller animals might be a better fit for tight spaces.
The size of your space plays a role in the number of pets you can realistically adopt as well. While the love you develop for your pet might encourage you to get another, consider if your space allows it. Multiple dogs in a compact area can be chaotic, and a litter box used by too many cats quickly smells unpleasant. You and your pets will both be happier in a place where you can comfortably coexist and spread out.
3. Your Budget
Caring for a pet is a huge financial responsibility, including upfront and recurring expenses. Adoption fees, vaccinations, pet transportation and spay and neuter services are some of the most common and expensive upfront costs. Vet bills, food, toys, and grooming are just a few of the regular expenses to budget. Spending categories will differ based on the type of animal you adopt. For example, cat litter will take up a big chunk of your monthly expenses if you’re a cat owner.
You may also need to consider boarding costs for your pet based on how often you travel. Recurring costs also depend on the size of your pet, especially if you’re adopting a dog. Estimates show expenses for a small breed will be around $43 per month. The number jumps to approximately $56 for medium dogs and up to $87 per month for larger breeds.
4. Time Commitments
Owning a furry companion demands plenty of space in your daily routine. Time commitments vary depending on your pet. If you’re a dog owner without a fenced-in yard, expect to pencil in multiple daily walks. Dogs are generally more of a time commitment than their feline counterparts. Properly exercising and socializing your pup with trips to the dog park can take up a chunk of your day. Cats are more independent, and their bathroom routine and playtime preferences don’t have the same time demands.
You will also need to base your schedule around your pet’s feeding times. Pet ownership often comes with less schedule flexibility and the need to plan. It isn’t as easy to grab a drink after work if you’ve got a doggo at home waiting for dinner. If you have an unpredictable schedule, consider purchasing an automatic feeder for your pet. That way, they still get their meals on time without you having to race home throughout the day.
5. Delegating Responsibilities
Juggling all the responsibilities that come with pet ownership can be a lot. Task delegation will be huge if you live with a partner, roommate, or other family members who share responsibility. One person handling all of the obligations can quickly lead to burnout and maybe even some resentment. Discover the best way to delegate tasks based on your lifestyle to avoid hard feelings.
You could split up duties based on schedules, with someone handling daytime responsibilities while others take the night shift. Dividing up responsibilities based on specific tasks is another option. For example, you might handle feeding time while your partner does the dog walking or litter box scooping. If you live alone, you may consider services that can lend a hand now and then. This help could mean finding someone to walk your dog or hiring a trainer to teach good behavior.
Caring for Your New Furry Friend
The responsibility of owning a pet might feel like a lot to handle at times, but it is all worth it. Furry companions help you feel less lonely, boost your mental health, and could even benefit your physical health as well. Studies show regular pet interactions can improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure.
Pets encourage you to get outside, exercise, and have some fun too. Anyone who’s brought their dog out in public can tell you that pets also create opportunities to meet new people. On the other hand, cats make ideal companions on the days you want to stay in and relax. Regardless of what pet you choose to adopt, you will be filling your heart and home with love.
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