Are you ready to adopt a pet?

By Lara Shannon. Certified dog trainer and behaviourist, and PETstock Ambassador.

The thought of getting a new pet is exciting for anyone, however thousands of pets still end up in shelters each year.

Before adopting or fostering a pet, it’s important to do your homework, assess your lifestyle and choose the right pet to suit.   

Pet ownership is a long-term commitment that requires time and effort to ensure they get the training, companionship and care they need. Other companion pets, such as cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, also have their own unique needs, so it’s important to understand what these are for any type of animal you are considering.      

Researching breed-specific needs for dogs, cats or even rabbits will help you better understand a pet’s common temperaments, health issues and dietary requirements. This will also help you to understand their mental and physical needs and how much company they require.  

 If you are looking to rescue an animal, you’ll need to understand any behaviour issues the pet may have and ask yourself if you are prepared to put in the time and money that may be required for training and veterinarian care. 

 There are several other areas of your life you will need to evaluate when considering animal adoption.  

Family

Do you have young kids? Are you planning to have children in the future? When choosing to adopt a dog for example, consider which breed, size and temperament is suitable for children, now and in the future. There are many dogs for adoption that are suitable for children of all ages!

Lifestyle

Dogs need company, daily play, training and socialisation to help keep them happy. If you work full time or have a busy lifestyle, then a dog may not be the right choice for you at this stage of your life.  

While cats or other less reliant pets can be a better choice, it is still important to understand the personality traits of different breeds.   

Financial

If you’re unable to afford a pet, it’s unlikely you’ll be equipped to provide them with the proper care they need for the rest of their life. Costs include food, vaccinations and other health related care needed to keep a pet healthy.  

The Future

Longer term plans such as travel, moving interstate or even overseas need to be thought about before adopting a pet. When choosing to adopt, considering your age and the age of your adopted pet is also important in ensuring you can care for them for the duration of their life.  

If you’re unsure whether you’re ready to commit to a rescue pet for the rest of its life, fostering is a great option. Foster pets depend on the support of fosterers to help them develop their social and training skills to better their chances of finding their new family.  

Home environment

How much room do you have at home? Do you have a backyard or live in an apartment? Is it suitable for the pet or breed you are considering? These are all important questions you must ask yourself before getting a pet.  

Every pet needs adequate shelter and safety, even rabbits and chickens require daily exercise outside of their cage or pen, so you must evaluate how much space your pet needs to roam and play.  

 Birds need exercise too and the ability to spread their wings, so consider whether you can provide them with an appropriately sized enclosure and let them out safely.   

You also need to consider any other pets you already have before adopting and bringing a new one home. Different pets have different personalities, so you need to think about whether it’s safe for your current or future pets to be living together.  

While this may sound like a long list, it helps to know if you are ready for the responsibility of animal adoption and what type of pet is going to suit you best.  

Rescue animals make for wonderful pets and deserve a forever home that they can settle into, with someone that is prepared to give them the love, exercise and care they need. 

Lara Shannon is a certified dog trainer and behaviourist, and PETstock Ambassador. She’s also the host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play and author of dog handbook ‘Eat Play Love (Your Dog)’. Her number one passion is to educate and empower people to help improve the lives of companion animals. 

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