When you are thinking of bringing home a new pet you have so many decisions to make! From breed, place, and even time of year it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. There are a few essentials that you should keep in mind as you go through the process.
Depending on the type of pet you are getting, it can be a long term commitment. You want to ensure that you are prepared for the lifespan of the pet. Many pets such as cats, dogs, and birds, live over a decade! If you are not sure you want that long of a commitment, look at either adopting an older pet or other pets that have shorter lifespans.
You also need to consider an animal’s energy level and do research. While not all pets fit the breed standard, you can get a very good idea of what to expect from reading up on the standards. If you are planning to adopt, some rescues have foster homes that will be able to tell you a lot about the pets personality and help to match your lifestyle to the correct pet. If you already have a pet at home, don’t forget to consider if and what type of new pet your resident pet would be happy to share their home with.
Consider also, the budget for pet ownership. It is easy to think of the everyday items, such as food and water, but also look into the cost of grooming for the dog or cat breed that you may be interested in. Short coated cats and dogs have less grooming needs than long haired cats or poodle mix dogs. Medical expenses vary by species as well and need to be considered in yearly vet expenses and recommended preventatives. It is also important to think about what it will cost to travel, will someone stop into your house to watch the pet or will they stay with a friend or family member? Make sure to ask if they are on board with that too.
Remember that there are also a lot of small animal companions that can make your heart and home full, that may not need the amount of maintenance that a dog or cat might. Rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets all make great pets for the right homes and may be a better fit for some lifestyles.
Make sure that you discuss with the whole family and make sure they are on board before the pet comes home. Discuss boundaries before they come home. Will the pet be allowed on the furniture? Eat snacks from the table instead of their food bowl? Sleep in the bed? These are items that are best discussed before the new family member comes home to ensure consistency! Pets learn the house rules best if everyone is on the same page. It is also important to discuss who is going to take care of the pet, and who has what responsibilities with their care.
Finally, ensure that you have everything purchased before your new pet comes home. A little bit of research online can give you shopping lists specific to many species of animals to ensure that you are prepared for your new addition. This will allow you to rest easy and enjoy having a new family member instead of having to run for supplies in a hurry.