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Tips & Resources

Tips for Adopting a Pet


Are you ready to adopt a pet? Are you really ready? Adopting a pet is a big responsibility, and it’s not a decision that should be rushed into. Before you bring an animal home, make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Find a species and breed that’s a good match for you.

When you think about your ideal pet, are you just thinking about how cute it is? There’s a lot more to consider.

  • Is anyone in your household allergic to certain species? If you’re not sure, try to find out before you bring a pet home.
  • How much space do you have? If you live in a small apartment with no yard, you might not be able to give a big dog the room it needs.
  • What type of personality do you want in a pet? Some animals like to be held and petted. Others get stressed out by human contact. Get a pet that will provide the type of animal companionship you want.
  • How much care does the animal need? Some animals are low maintenance. Others require hours of care and exercise each day. Don’t get an animal that needs more work than you’re willing to give.
  • How long does the pet you’re considering live? You need to be committed to taking care of this animal for the rest of its life.

Decide where to get your pet.

When you’re ready to get a pet, you have several options.

  • A shelter: By going to a shelter, you’re helping an animal in need and fighting against pet overpopulation.
  • A pet store: Pet stores are another option. Some pet stores partner with shelters to help rehome animals.
  • The previous owner: When people can no longer care for their pets, they often put an ad out on websites like Craigslist.

Prepare for the cost.

The adoption fee might be inexpensive, but this does not mean that the pet will be cheap. Here are some of the other expenses you should consider:

  • Food.
  • Toys.
  • Bedding, cages and/or kennels.
  • Routine medical expenses, including the cost to neuter or spay.
  • Emergency medical expenses.
  • Boarding or pet-sitting costs when you go on vacation.

Get your home ready.

Before you bring your pet home, you need to make sure your home is ready.

  • If you have a dog that will be in the backyard, make sure the fence is secure.
  • Pet-proof your home. This is like baby-proofing a home. Make sure there are no dangerous substances the animal can get into. Many plants are poisonous, so keep this in mind.
  • If you rent, contact your landlord before bringing an animal home. Make sure your pet is allowed. You may need to pay an extra fee.
  • You may also need to purchase a dog license from your city.

Be ready to train your pet.

It’s important to train your pet. This will make life easier for both of you. It will also help prevent damage to your home and furniture.
  • Read books and articles on pet training.
  • Consider signing up for classes.
  • Dog bites are a common cause of homeowners insurance claims. Train your dog not to bite.
  • The Hawaiian Humane Society has tips and resources to help with dog training and common behavior problems.

Pets can bring great joy to our lives, and most pet owners agree that the extra time and expense of pet-ownership is all worthwhile. Just make sure you’re really ready, before you make the leap!