Adopting a shelter pet is one of the most rewarding experiences of our time. You’re saving the life of another creature and gaining a best friend in the process. April 30 is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, so what better time to begin researching pet adoption? If you’re considering adopting a shelter pet, here are three important steps to take to help make the experience as positive as it can be.
1. Figure Out What Kind of Pet is Right for You.
This step is vital to the adoption process, as it makes the difference between a successful or a failed adoption. The first step is to figure out what kind of pet you want — whether it’s a dog, cat, rabbit, fish or some other critter entirely. In order to do this, you need to ask yourself a few important questions:
- Do I already have other pets in the household, and how might they react to another kind of pet?
- How much space can I provide the pets in my home?
- What kind of pet do I have the budget for?
- How much time do I have to dedicate to playtime, attention, cuddling or training?
- How much am I willing to alter my lifestyle to accommodate my pet?
- What will I do with my pet when I’m away from home or traveling?
- How will my roommates, family, or spouse feel about me bringing home a pet?
There are at least a hundred more questions you could probably ask yourself when considering what kind of pet is right for you, but these are the most basic. Consider all of these questions when you’re deciding what species of pet to get, what breed to adopt and what age your pet should be. Certain breeds and age groups can be more demanding than others, so take that into consideration before you adopt.
2. Do Your Research on Your Future Pet.
So you’ve finally decided on your future pal! Maybe it’s a Labrador Retriever, or perhaps a Betta fish is more your style. Whichever pet you chose, start doing your research. Look into the best brands of food, the best places nearby to take your pet, reviews of nearby veterinary hospitals, how to effectively communicate with your pet and more. If you opted to adopt a puppy, look into training classes. If you adopted a cat, start researching how to cat-proof your home.
If you’re adopting a shelter pet that you already picked out, try researching details of that particular pet. Does the shelter provide any information on the pet’s previous experiences or temperament? Maybe your future pup is food-aggressive, or maybe your future cat takes some time to warm up to people. Start researching ways that you can work on these issues as soon as you bring your new pet home. You and your future pet will be much better off for your efforts.
3. Stock up on Supplies.
You don’t want to bring your pet home to an empty nest, do you? Make sure to purchase a variety of treats, toys and beds to start getting an idea of what your pet likes the best. You want your home to be as welcoming as possible when you bring your pet home for the first time. Place your pet’s food and water dishes in the appropriate spot before you bring home your pet. If you’re adopting a cat, put the litter box in its appropriate place so you can show her where it is after she arrives.
If there are sections of the house your pet isn’t allowed to explore, put up the baby gate or other barrier beforehand as well. More items you want to already have when you adopt your pet include a leash and collar, a pet carrier, non-toxic stain remover, plastic poop baggies, nail trimmers and brushes or combs.
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