Things To Consider Before Getting a Pet

If you’re an animal lover who spends time on social media, you’ll probably see many posts about animals that need to be rehomed or adopted. It breaks my heart to see so many perfectly healthy animals – usually dogs – euthanized needlessly. Why does it happen so often? Because the owner didn’t fully appreciate what’s involved in pet ownership. Their neglect (or ignorance) leads to situations that could otherwise be avoided. The dog is usually the one that pays the ultimate price.

Six Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet

Here are my top six things that pet owners must consider to be able to ensure the well-being and happiness of a furry friend – ideally before you take on the animal.

  1. Commitment and Time: Owning a pet requires a significant commitment of time and energy. Consider the daily care needs of your pet, including feeding, grooming, exercise, and playtime. Make sure you have enough time to dedicate to your pet’s well-being and provide them with the attention they need. Most behavioral problems come about through neglect and boredom.
  2. Veterinary Care: Regular veterinary care is essential for your pet’s health. Schedule routine check-ups, vaccinations, and necessary preventive treatments like flea and tick control. You should be prepared for unexpected medical expenses and consider getting pet insurance, or setting up a pet emergency savings account, to help manage costs. It is often a lot more affordable to keep a pet healthy than it is to bring them back to health.
  3. Proper Nutrition: Just like for kids, providing a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for your pet’s overall health. Feed your pet the best quality food you can comfortably afford. Consult with us, or your own veterinarian, to determine the appropriate type and amount of food for your pet’s age, size, breed, and any specific dietary needs. Avoid feeding your pet human food, as it may be harmful to them. Up to 65% of dogs in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese, and obesity can shorten their lifespan dramatically.
  4. Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Pets, especially dogs, need regular exercise to stay physically fit and mentally stimulated. Set aside time for daily walks, play sessions, or engaging activities that match your pet’s energy level and breed requirements. Puzzle toys, training sessions, and interactive games can also provide mental stimulation. Back to point one; if your dog does not get enough mental stimulation, they may become bored, and that can lead to destructive behavior.
  5. Socialization and Training: Proper socialization is important to help your pet become well-adjusted and comfortable in different environments and around other animals and people. Enroll your pet in obedience classes or work with a professional trainer if needed. Use positive reinforcement training methods; these are generally recommended over negative methods.
  6. Safety and Environment: Create a safe environment for your pet both indoors and outdoors. Secure your home and yard to prevent escapes or potential hazards. Keep toxic substances, plants, and dangerous objects out of their reach. Provide a comfortable and suitable living space with appropriate bedding, toys, and enrichment activities.

Remember, pet ownership involves love, patience, and a lifelong commitment to your furry friend’s well-being. Make sure that you have the time, the money, and the patience to take on the responsibility of a life for the next ten to fifteen years. Share these six points with anyone who you know is considering getting a pet, especially if you are concerned about their ability to responsibly care for it.

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