Things to Consider When Adopting a New Pet

| CJ Silvasi

Before you go out and adopt a new pet, there are factors you need to consider. Take these important things into consideration before bringing a new pet home.

Photo of a dog giving a woman kisses

So, you’ve decided to welcome a pet into your life and give them a loving home. Congratulations! You’re about to embark on the wonderful journey that is pet ownership. 

Whether you’re interested in adopting puppies, senior dogs, cats, gerbils, or any other animal, it’s important to choose a pet that fits your lifestyle. Taking on an animal is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly, so keep these things in mind when you’re on the search for the perfect companion.

Find a Pet That’s a Good Fit

Before you adopt a large dog from your local shelter, take a moment to review your lifestyle and select the pet that fits into your current standard of living. You don’t only want to make sure the pet is a good fit for you, but also that you are a good fit for that particular animal. If you are unable to meet that pet’s needs, they may express their unhappiness in behavioral issues, so do your research before adopting to make sure you aren’t getting into something you aren’t prepared for. 

Start by taking stock of your current lifestyle. You may think that adding a pet to your routine will inspire you to change your ways, but that’s not always the case. So, don’t get an active dog with a lot of energy if you aren’t the kind of person who already loves going on walks or is particularly active. Instead, look for a pet that is as laid back as you are and while they may enjoy the occasional walk, their passion is a good snuggle on the couch in front of the T.V.

If this is your first pet, don’t jump into the deep end with an animal that requires a lot of maintenance or training. A high-energy, untrained puppy may not be the best choice for you if you’ve never had to care for a dog in the past. When you go to the adoption center, be honest about your experience level, so they can guide you to the animals that will be easier to manage while you learn the ins and outs of pet ownership.

What to Expect from a Pet Adoption Center

Every pet rescue or adoption organization will have different requirements and procedures for adopting one of their pets. Some can be adopted in a same-day process, while others have weeks-long interviews and even home inspections prior to allowing pets to be adopted. Before you go to a shelter, do your research on their requirements. Most shelters clearly detail their adoption process online, so you can go in knowing what they’ll expect. 

On your chosen adoption center’s website, you’ll also find a list of adoptable animals, so feel free to take a look at their animals before going to the shelter, but don’t get your heart set on one particular pet listed online. Make sure you read about their temperament and take the time to get to know them in person before committing. Also, if you live in a shared space, be sure to include those people in the adoption interview. Don’t bring an animal into a home with other humans unless you can guarantee that all parties involved, especially the animal, will be comfortable. 

Pet rescues, shelters, and adoption organizations all have adoption fees associated with their pets, so you probably won’t find any free pet adoptions through a shelter. It helps them provide their services to pets in need, and the fees can vary wildly depending on the center. 

During the research stage of your process, be sure to get familiar with the fees associated with adoption at your chosen organization. If they aren’t listed online, don’t be afraid to ask in person. Many centers have medical requirements prior to releasing animals such as vaccinations, spay and neutering, and even treatments for current medical issues. Those costs may be passed onto you in addition to the adoption fees, so be open about your budget and ensure that you can afford to adopt a pet.

Look at Your Budget

Before adopting your pet, review your personal budget. Are you currently living paycheck to paycheck and concerned about your next meal? If so, you won’t want the added expense of a pet. Be realistic about your current spending habits and make sure to factor in essentials like food, medical expenses, and general upkeep of owning a pet. 

The average cost of owning a dog ranges from $326-$1,982 pet year, and for a cat it’s about $634 per year, so it’s a big expense to add to your annual budget. Don’t risk your financial stability or the health and happiness of a pet if you can’t afford to care for one properly. 

Consider the Benefits and Challenges of Pet Adoption

Adopting a pet in need is filled with wonderful benefits. Watching a nervous animal become comfortable in your home and even joyful at their new lease on life is a gift worth cherishing, but there are also difficulties you’ll face along the way. If you adopt a pet from a shelter, you rarely have a full understanding of their past. They may have been abused or abandoned and have some behavioral issues attributed to their past trauma. Because of this, you’ll need to be patient with them and train them to understand the proper ways to behave both in your home and in public.

Ultimately, when you adopt a pet, you’re adopting a new best friend. You now have a companion, confidant, and playmate to help fill your home with joy and laughter. A pet will help reduce your stress and can even help you live longer, so no matter how much they need you, you’ll find that you need them too.

Enrolling your new pet in a pet insurance policy is a great way to prepare for their future. Optional Wellness Coverage through AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) provides support for a variety of routine and preventive care expenses, allowing you to focus more on the health of your pet and less on costly veterinary bills. Click here to get a quote today!

CJ Silvasi

CJ has always wanted to be a writer. She even threatened to drop out after her first day of kindergarten when they weren’t immediately going to teach her to read and write. Fortunately, she stayed in school, earned her degree in Creative Writing from Christopher Newport University, and now gets to live her best life with her husband, 3 Japanese Chins, and cat writing for AKC Pet Insurance.


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