18 Things People Forget to Consider When Adopting a Pet

Written By Jill Taylor

Adopting a pet can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to be fully prepared for the responsibilities that come with it. Many new owners overlook these 18 things when adopting a pet, which can significantly impact both their lives and their new pet’s well-being.

Long-Term Commitment

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We’ve all heard the phrase ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas,’ right? Pets can live for many years, especially dogs and cats. So make sure you’re ready for a long-term commitment, emotionally and financially. Always consider your future plans, like career changes, moves, and children.

Financial Responsibility

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It can cost a lot to own a pet! According to Forbes, you should “expect to spend about $2,896 the first year of owning a dog (excluding any adoption fees) and around $1,866 every year after that.” The costs include food, grooming, pet insurance, and veterinary care.

Time and Attention

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Pets can require a lot of time and attention, often needing daily exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation. Remember to consider the time needed for training and socializing, too. It’s important to be able to balance looking after your pet with your other work, social, and family obligations.

Space Requirements

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We all need our personal space, and pets are no different! Make sure you think about how much space your pet will need and whether your home has enough room for your pet to be comfortable. Pets typically need space to exercise and play, and some may require outdoor areas.

Impact on Lifestyle

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Pets can have a big impact on your lifestyle, similar to any other large commitment like having a child or getting married! You will have to make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate your new pet. These might include staying home more, not traveling as much, and home improvements like pet-proofing and cleaning.

Allergies and Health Issues

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It’s crucial to consider any potential allergies or health issues that adopting a pet might trigger. Cleveland Clinic states that “up to 30% of people in the U.S. are allergic to cats and dogs.” Also, be aware of any health issues that your pets can bring into your home.

Compatibility with Other Pets

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If you already have pets, you should consider how compatible your new pet will be with them. It might be necessary to gradually introduce your new pet into your home so your current companions can slowly adjust to the new arrival. We just want everyone to get along and be happy!

Researching Breeds

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Different breeds vary considerably, having different needs, temperaments, and health issues. When adopting a pet, it’s key to consider the breed’s typical exercise and grooming requirements, as well as its usual characteristics, to ensure you can handle their needs.

Training and Behavior

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Proper training and management of a pet require a lot of time and effort. Housebreaking, obedience, and socialization can present many challenges. So, be prepared to consistently work on training your pet and reinforcing its behavior.

Vacation and Travel Plans

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We all have to take a break sometimes! If you have vacation plans, it’s vital to find a reliable pet sitter, boarding facility, or friend to look after your pet. The RSPCA  says, “You should make sure that they understand your pet’s needs and any special requirements that he or she may have.”

Pet-Proofing

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When adopting a pet, remember to pet-proof your home so that it’s safe for your new friend! You will need to identify and remove any potential hazards and secure household items that could be dangerous if your pet chewed or ate them.

Veterinary Care

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Veterinary care can cost quite a bit, but it’s essential! You should find a trusted vet for regular check-ups and emergencies and always budget for unexpected vet costs as well as routine appointments. It’s also vital to understand the importance of preventative care and vaccinations.

Grooming Needs

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Of course, we want our pets to look cute and pretty, but grooming is important for more than just aesthetics. Grooming needs like regular brushing, nail trimming, and dental care keep your pet healthy, too. You should consider how frequently grooming is required and how much money and time it takes.

Exercise Requirements

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Your chosen pet’s breed and age can influence how much exercise it needs. To prevent boredom and bad behavior, you must give your pet as much physical activity and exercise as it requires. Always choose a pet that matches your energy and lifestyle!

Legal Responsibilities

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There are many legal responsibilities that pet owners must adhere to. According to the PDSA, “The Animal Welfare Act 2006 places a legal duty of care on their owners or keepers to provide for their animals’ welfare needs.” It’s important to understand these laws and other laws on licensing, microchipping, and vaccinations.

Socialization Needs

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When deciding whether to adopt a pet and which pet to choose, you should consider the animal’s socialization needs. Certain pets require socialization with people and other animals early in their lives, but for most pets, being socialized can prevent anxiety and aggression.

Emergencies

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We’re all guilty of ignoring and avoiding potential negative scenarios, but with a pet, it’s crucial to be prepared for emergencies, such as natural disasters or sudden illnesses. It’s beneficial to keep a pet emergency kit with the necessary supplies and information and be aware of local emergency services and pet-friendly shelters.

Finding the Right Pet

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You should analyze your lifestyle and think of the qualities and criteria that you’re looking for in a pet. Considering factors like personality, size, energy level, and care needs is key to finding the right pet. The best way to find a pet that matches you is to visit shelters and rescues and get to know the individual animals before making a decision.

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