Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a New Pet

You’ve seen your neighbor’s Bichon Frise and think she’s just the cutest dog. Your friends have dogs that cannot seem to get enough of you when you come over and you cannot get enough of them. You’re feeling confident. You can do this. You decide you’re ready to bring a pet into your life. But are you truly ready? There are some questions you need to ask your family, and yourself, before diving headlong into this important decision.

Who is going to take responsibility for the new pet? Will it be a family effort or will you designate one person to do the feedings, walkings, washings?

Does the family have enough time to commit to a pet? If you;re always traveling or rarely in your house, then maybe you should just buy a stuffed animal

How many hours will the pet be alone? Pets need a lot of attention and a lot of love. They get easily depressed and sometimes their health deteriorates, especially in dogs.

Can you afford this pet? Pets require food, grooming and yearly visits to the veterinarian.

You should also ask yourself if you’re willing to take on any health issues that may arise in the future. Dogs and cats can suffer from a multitude of ailments and diseases. Hip dysplasia is a painful disease common in big dogs that occurs due to heredity and other factors; hip joints don’t fit properly into sockets and can rub together excessively, wearing down cartilage. Oftentimes, dogs will also suffer from arthritis and inflammation.

Cats and dogs can live 10 years or more. Are you ready for this lifetime commitment?

Does everyone in your household agree and want a new pet in the family?

Do you rent or own your home? Do you live in an apartment? If you’re renting or live in cluster living, it may be more difficult to bring a pet into your home. Make sure to ask your landlord what his pet guidelines are.

If the animal has issues adjusting to his new environment, how will you deal with it? My experience with dogs is that, when they are introduced to a new environment, they are often anxious and scared. Many times they will pee and poop in the house. Dogs need a lot of positive reinforcement. Scolding a dog physically never solves the problem and gives the wrong message to your dog; he will think that he should be afraid of you and that you are not to be trusted. When dogs feel threatened, they become defensive and may lash out with some type of aggressive behavior, ranging from barking to biting.

If there are continuing behavioral issues, what will you do? Are you willing to hire a dog trainer or animal behaviorist?

Where will the pet live? Is it an indoor or outdoor pet, or both? Where will they stay during the day and where will they sleep at night?

When the pet is outside, will he have enough shelter to protect himself from the weather?

What will you do with your pet when you’re at work or running errands? This is especially important with regard to dogs. Will they remain in a crate, secured in a bedroom, or left outside?

Do you have a fence around your yard? If so, what kind is it and how tall is it? Many dogs like to dig and have been known to dig under the fencing structure. Big dogs, like English Mastiffs and Great Danes, are tall enough to jump fences. It’s usually a good idea to have a fence that is at least 5 feet tall or higher.

What you want to avoid is putting additional frustration and stress on yourself and on your family. You don’t want to go through the process of bringing a new pet into your home only to realize it was a mistake and then have to return him. This can be extremely traumatic for your family and for the pet.

If you’re really serious about getting a new pet, then take these questions seriously and really take some time answering them. Only then will know if you’re ready.

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