• Before You Adopt

  • Owning a pet, (and being owned by one,) is a life long commitment to the animal. Pets may live 15 to 20 years and you must be prepared to provide for the food, shelter, health care, and emotional nurturing of the animal for that period of time. Pet ownership is not a short term commitment, it is a life long commitment. This can not be stressed enough. Your new pet will become a member of the family and the commitment should be just as strong.

    Are you fully prepared for the cost of pet ownership? It’s definitely not cheap. There is no such thing as a “free” pet. It is estimated that on average Canadian dog owners will spend between $600.00 and $1,500. per year. An animal with medical conditions can cost considerably more. A dog with diabetes and arthritis can add as much as $200.00 (or more) per month in medications, supplies, and testing to the average costs.

    Do you have the time for a pet? People away from home for extended periods of time, where the animal is left unattended, should be very careful about getting pets. Dogs left alone for extended periods of time can develop severe behavioural problems. Puppies, and kittens to a lesser extent, but they need almost constant supervision and nurturing especially until they are thoroughly house trained. Regular social interaction, exercise and play periods are a must for a well behaved and socialized member of the family.

    Ask yourself: "why do you want a pet?" Be serious about this one. To get the kids to stop pestering you for a pet has never been a good reason, nor is “it will teach them responsibility.” As an adult, do you have the right reasons to own a pet? When the novelty wears off are you going to be happy with the pet? Is your commitment to the animal truly there? Pets will enrich your life immensely. Can you enrich the animals life?

    Think about your future plans. Jobs change, promotions and transfers happen, and your housing situation may change too. If you move finding pet friendly accommodations can be a challenge. Having to give up a pet because of changing circumstances can be traumatic for everyone involved, especially the animal. Your pet can’t reason out what’s happened. Children may be heart broken at the loss of their beloved pet. This is difficult for any family. You must be willing to take the needs of your pet into consideration. Are you willing to make sacrifices for your pets well being?

    Think seriously and long before getting any pet. The animals deserve more thought than an impulse purchase of a pair of shoes.
    Pet ownership has built in rewards. Nothing beats the enthusiastic greeting of a puppy or the contented purring of a lap full of cat. You will get so much from your pet, please ensure you give as much as you get. Be responsible, think before you get a pet.