Written by Indiana Lee
A new pet can be a great addition to your family. They bring joy into your home and parents often find them a useful tool for helping teach their children about responsibility. Not to mention that animal interactions can help reduce stress in ways that are good for mental and physical well being.
If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, such benefits are likely to be at the forefront of your mind. Nevertheless, there are challenges and responsibilities you must consider before taking the leap. Although adoption gives animals in need homes and can enrich your family, rushing in can have negative consequences for everyone.
Home and Surroundings
If you have space in your house, creating a dedicated room for your pet can be a practical and wise consideration. Not only does it keep their various accessories stored in a single place, it can also help address the changing needs your pet has throughout their lives. This could include setting up specific furniture, such as beds that are easy to keep clean. You can also place their toy storage in this area. This doesn’t have to be an entire room, though. Even just dedicating a corner of the living room or an entryway can be effective.
Whether or not you have a dedicated space, remember that much of your home still needs to be safe and accessible for a pet. As such, before adopting you need to assess your home for this. Are the rooms of your house big enough to accommodate a large dog with a lot of energy? If you live in an apartment with a balcony, will you need to put up fencing to prevent falls?
Look around at your home’s fixtures and fittings, too. Dogs and cats will occasionally get rambunctious. If you have heavy and tall furniture like bookshelves and cabinets, you may need to secure them to the wall. Breakables on surfaces that get knocked may not just damage the objects but injure your pet. Even certain plants can be poisonous. Taking your time to assess here allows you to plan adjustments and make more informed choices.
Health and Wellbeing
When you adopt a pet you’re also taking responsibility for keeping them healthy and well. This isn’t just a case of keeping them fed and watered. Pets have complex wellness needs and you need to make sure your family is in a good position to provide this. You have to be committed for their entire life; the good and the bad.
Again, this should begin with some health considerations at home. There may be elements of the environment you need to adjust to make sure it’s healthy for your pet. This must include an examination of any household chemicals you use for cleaning. Consider whether you can substitute these for safe and green items. You also need to think about allergens. Dogs and cats can suffer from respiratory issues here just like humans. Examine how regularly you vacuum and dust your home and perhaps invest in pollen and pollution filters. Noises, lights, and excessive heat may also cause stress, so review the potential exposure to these, too.
Finally, but certainly not least important, here, you should get pet insurance. Nobody likes having another bill to pay each month. But vet bills can be extremely expensive and owners often have to make decisions about treatment based on affordability. Insurance can mitigate the impact here and make sure your pet gets the care they need and deserve. If you can’t afford pet insurance yet, it may be worth reconsidering adoption at this time.
Time and Attention
Adopting a pet isn’t just a fresh experience for your family. It’s also new for the pet itself. You’re bringing them into a new environment with people they don’t know. Not to mention that they may have experienced some trauma at other times in their lives. As such you must expect a transition period. Part of your consideration here is whether you have the time and attention an adopted pet requires of you.
Sometimes this will be relatively easy, particularly with cats. But some animals can experience separation anxiety initially. Not to mention that younger animals will need a certain amount of training and guidance to get used to their surroundings. If you don’t work from home, it can be worth considering taking some vacation time to help an adopted pet settle in. It can help them to get used to the surroundings and ease into your routines.
Similarly, it’s important to think about how often you’re away from home for long periods of time. If you find you travel a lot with work, the idea of coming home to a welcoming pet can be comforting. Some technologies can help make sure your pet is fed and even allow you to monitor them remotely. But this isn’t always the most appropriate approach for your pet too often.
They need to spend time with you, play with you, and most importantly bond with you. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever go on a vacation. But they do need regular and meaningful time with you. If necessary, you should consider where you can adjust your usual schedule to give quality time and attention to your pet. You’ll also find this makes the experience most positive for you both.
A pet can undoubtedly be a key part of your family. However, before you commit to adoption, it’s important to look at whether you’re ready for it. Review your home and any adjustments that might need to be made. Consider how an animal’s health and wellbeing can be incorporated into your lifestyle and finances. Seriously assess how your schedule might impact transition and bonding. With some commitment and planning, you and a new pet will get the most out of your relationship.
About the writer: Indiana Lee is a freelance writer and journalist with a wealth of experience in blogging, content marketing, and journalism.