image via Kauai Humane Society
Article by Jessica Brody
Adopting a pet is an amazing experience. Animals breathe new life into a home and give a new pet owner an additional feeling of purpose. They love you unconditionally and are always there to comfort you when you feel bad. If you’ve never had a pet, but you’re ready to take the plunge, your lack of experience can lead to a few issues down the road. Use the following advice before adopting to learn about mistakes new pet owners make and to ensure a smooth transition into pet ownership.
Going for the Breed You Assume You Want
When it comes to choosing the kind of pet you want, you probably have an ideal picture in your head. However, there’s a good chance your perfect animal companion is nothing like that idea you’re imagining. For instance, you may have dreams of owning a purebred golden retriever, but the truth is purebreds are expensive and often have more health problems than mixed breeds. You may not even be a “dog person” at all and prefer to adopt a cat. Other people may assume they don’t like cats until they realize how friendly and low-maintenance cats can be.
To get a better idea of what kind of pet you want, visit your local animal shelter. You can spend time playing with cats or walking dogs to get a feel for the options available to you. You may find yourself surprised with what type of breed or animal you like best.
Picking the Wrong-Sized Pet
Sure, toy dogs can be cute, but did you know they are more difficult to potty train than larger breeds? For instance, if you cherish your clean carpet and have little patience for accidents, you may want to pass on the idea of a Pomeranian. On the other hand, if you live in a small apartment or have very limited space in your home, a large pet is not for you. Large dogs need room to stretch out and a yard to play in for their own well-being. Your pet’s size should reflect what you’re able to provide for it.
Picking a Pet That’s Wrong for Your Lifestyle
If you can’t live without your morning jog and spend your weekends hiking outside the city, an active breed like a border collie or German shepherd is a great fit for your lifestyle. However, if you can’t provide that much physical activity, these breeds will grow unhappy, neurotic, and even depressed. If your idea of a good time is more in line with Netflix bingeing, a smaller dog or cat is a better pet choice.
Furthermore, if you’re a workaholic and spend long hours at the office, a dog may not be right for you at all. Dogs need to be let out 3-5 times a day, and while a walker can help you out when you’re at the office, dogs become extremely attached to their owners. Yours will grow lonely without seeing you as much and may act out. A cat may be a better option for you because they don’t need to be let outside. In fact, outdoor cats tend to not live as long compared to indoor ones, so your kitty is better hanging out indoors. Additionally, they sleep about 16 hours a day, so they don’t need as much attention and are plenty occupied while you’re out.
Assuming You Want a Puppy or Kitten
We know puppies and kittens are cute. However, they are also a lot more work than you may realize. Just like babies, puppies and kittens are more susceptible to health problems than adult dogs. As they explore the world, they are more likely to be destructive around the home. In short, adopting a baby pet is a lot of work.
Adult pets, on the other hand, are already potty trained and have a calmer demeanor. They are more grateful for you and your love and tend to be less destructive. While a puppy or kitten is cute, it’s much more rewarding to adopt an adult or senior dog or cat.
Not Preparing Your Home for Your New Pet
When you bring a new pet home, you’ll be so distracted by its novelty you won’t want to leave its sight. Stay in that honeymoon phase longer by preparing your house for your new pet before you bring it home. If you’re getting a dog, be sure to puppy proof everything even if you adopt an adult. Get all the necessary supplies including food, bowls, leash, tags, crate, bed, and toys. If you’re getting a cat, make sure you have the additional accessories needed, such as a litter box and scratch pads. Make sure that you’ve made the right modifications to your home if your pet is older. Have a veterinarian lined up for your pet’s first visit and prepare your schedule for the changes that you’ll need to make. Adequately preparing before your new pet arrives means you can concentrate on the important things—like getting the perfect picture for Instagram!
When you adopt your first pet, it’s easy to let your emotions get in the way of making the best choices. Instead of rushing into things, do your research and get to know your options so you pick the right breed for you. Take a pet’s size and your lifestyle into account; you may not be best suited for the idea you have in your head. Don’t pick a pet just because it’s cute. Consider getting an adult pet for an easier transition and a sense of reward. Finally, adequately prepare your home for your pet before you bring it home so you can focus on bonding with and enjoying your new best friend right away.