BEFORE YOU ADOPTů
Are you thinking of adopting a dog or cat? Owning a pet can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but it is also time-consuming and somewhat costly. Here are some things to think about before you adopt:
- Do you have small children? Many shelters restrict adoptions if you have young children.
- Do you plan on having children in the near future? Having a baby is time-consuming and you may not have the time for a pet.
- Do you travel often? If you do, a pet may not be a good idea.
- Are you prepared to deal with potential behavior problems? Most dogs will benefit from obedience classes, and all cats have their idiosyncrasies. Remember, an animal should not be seen as merchandise that can be returned because it is not exactly what you wanted.
- Are you willing to take your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year for checkups and vaccinations? This is a must if your pet is to be healthy!
- Do you have the time to devote to a pet? If you lead a very busy life, you may not have the time for a pet.
- Do you plan on moving soon? If so, you may wish to wait and make sure that your new residence allows pets.
- Can you afford the costs associated with owning a pet? Food, litter, vet bills, toys and other expenses can add up quickly. There are also unforeseen expenses, like serious illness, that can be expensive.
- Do you understand that spaying/neutering your pet is necessary to control the animal population? Even if plan on keeping your pet inside, it is necessary to get him/her fixed. Behavioral problems are more prominent in unfixed animals.
- Are you prepared to clean the litter box daily or de-poop the yard weekly? A cat will not use a litter box that hasn't been cleaned for a few days and may starting finding alternative places to go potty.
- Did you know that declawing a cat is a very painful procedure and should only be used as a last resort? Post-operative complications may arise, especially if you do not follow veterinary instructions to use paper (not litter!) in the litter box for the 10 days following surgery. Most cats will use a scratching post, and for those cats that really like to use their nails, you should try a product called "Soft Caps." These caps are glued over the nail to prevent scratching.
- Did you know that new pets may have difficulty adjusting to their new environment? It is absolutely crucial to make sure your cat or dog eats and eliminates waste regularly. If your new pet does not eat or go to the bathroom for 48 hours, you MUST contact your veterinarian. Failure to do so will result in serious illness and perhaps death for your new pet.
SPECIAL NOTE ON ADOPTING PUPPIES AND KITTENS
If you are considering adopting a puppy or kitten, you should recognize that they need a lot of attention. They are very active and inquisitive and tend to get lonely without someone to play with. If your pet will be alone for several hours throughout the day, you should consider adopting an adult dog or cat or perhaps 2 kittens. Don't forget that a dog/puppy needs to go outside several times a day, so someone must be there periodically throughout the day to make sure your dog has a potty break.
This article was written by Susan Norris.