Before You Adopt

Adopting a Pet

Owning a pet is a commitment requiring an investment of time, patience and money.  A hasty decision to adopt a pet, when one has not considered all the responsibilities and logistics, can lead to unfortunate situations for both pet and owner.   Please take some time to think about the following questions and discuss them with all members of your household. 

Can you afford to have this pet?

If you are adopting a pet, it may well need an additional two vaccines at monthly intervals that will cost anywhere from $63 to $ 94 each, depending on which vaccines are given.   After this, your pet will need vaccinations once a year. You will also have costs associated with feeding your pet.  On average, a cat will cost about $200 a year to feed whereas the average 50 lb. dog will eat about $600 worth of food every year.  Don’t forget to factor in other potential costs such as toys, food dishes, scratching posts, cat litter, leashes, collars, grooming fees, kennel fees, and town licenses.  You should also have some money set aside for the unanticipated veterinary needs of your pet.  Even a basic ear infection or bite wound/scratch will cost $90 or more.   More serious conditions that require hospitalization and intensive treatment quickly run into the hundreds of dollars or thousands if surgery is required.  You should not adopt a pet if you will be unable or unwilling to meet these unforeseen costs.  If finances are tight, you may want to consider buying health or accident insurance for your new pet. 

Is this the right type of pet for you?

Make sure you have a living arrangement and lifestyle that is appropriate for the pet you are adopting.  Obviously adopting a large dog when you live in small condo with no yard is not fair to the dog.  If you are away at work for long periods of time during the day, a cat might be a better option than a dog. If you travel a lot, you should make sure you have pet sitters, boarding facilities or friends that will take care of your pet. 

Are you in rental accommodation or staff housing?

Check with your landlord and make sure you are allowed to have a pet.   If you are in a place that allows pets, how secure are you in that location?  Finding a new place to live when you have pets can be very difficult. 

Do you have enough time for your new pet?

In general adult dogs or cats require less of your time than puppies and kittens; however you will still need to take them out for daily exercise sessions.  You may also need to put aside at least 20 minutes a day for obedience training sessions.  Cats may not need to be walked and may not require any training, but they do need some play and exercise time too.   If your day is already pretty full then don’t adopt a puppy or kitten. Not only will they need lots of exercise time but you should spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day on basic obedience training, not to mention extra time devoted to socialization/familiarization of your pup to other dogs, people, children, grooming, bathing etc. 

This information has been designed to trigger a little bit of soul searching on your part.  We know how easy it is to see an orphaned animal and to immediately want to take that animal home.   Remember this is a long term commitment you are making.  Many cats and small dogs live well into their teens. All we ask is that you take some time to consider the questions above and make sure that this is the right pet, at the right time for you and your family!