A PET can bring loads of love and joy into a household, but in return they need a lifetime of emotional, physical and financial commitment.
Animal shelters around the world are full of pets who are no longer wanted because their owner’s priorities changed, or the full responsibilities of pet ownership were not thought through.
Here are a few things to consider before heading to your local shelter and giving a pet a second chance at a long and happy life:
- A pet is a lifetime commitment. Some dogs and cats can live well past 15 years of age. Are you prepared to look after their every need for that long? It is a wonderful experience for children to grow up with a pet, but think through what will happen to the pet when the children leave home?
- Choose the right pet. A kitten is not suitable for an elderly person, and some breeds of dog should not be left in a backyard alone all day.
- Make time for your pet. Dogs need regular exercise, grooming, obedience training and play time, as well as being involved with family activities. If you work long hours or travel often, can you give your pet the time and attention it needs?
- Provide the right environment. If you are renting, are you allowed to have pets, and will that always be the case? For dogs you need secure fencing and generally the larger the dog, the larger the backyard it needs.You must also provide comfortable bedding protected from the elements in addition to constant access to fresh water.
- Be prepared for costs. When you adopt your pet, it should already be desexed, registered and microchipped. However you will need to budget for yearly vaccinations, heartworm and flea treatments, and boarding costs if you plan to travel.
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Shelter staff will help you choose the right pet for your circumstances be that small or large, furry or scaly. Their aim is to find a suitable, loving, long-term home for the animals in their care so they will ask lots of questions to ensure you and your future family friend are the perfect match.