Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to add some four-legged love to your family. Adopting a pet should be fun and joyful, so we’ve created a list of handy tips to help you make good choices, and properly prepare your home for its newest member. Bring on the unconditional love, people!
1. Before you adopt a pet, talk to family members about what they want.
Discuss everyone’s likes and dislikes. Large dogs may be too strong or active for young children, for example, while some people may simply prefer cats over canines.
2. If you’re getting a pet for your children, don’t expect the kiddies to do all the work.
No matter how mature your child is, he will need constant supervision and help handling the responsibility of a cat or dog. Ultimately, the parent is responsible for the pet.
3. Make sure your family is ready for the changes a new pet will bring.
A furry friend brings love and adventure, but he also brings new household chores. Some dogs—especially puppies—may need a lot of attention and training, while cats thrive on a daily schedule of feeding, grooming and play.
4. Do a little research to learn which breed matches your family’s lifestyle.
Some breeds are naturally more aggressive or high-strung than others. Breeds such as Labrador and golden retrievers are known to be more even-tempered and well-behaved around children.
5. Confirm whether anyone in your family suffers from allergies.
Even if a family member has allergies, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t adopt a pet. Learn how to create an allergen-free environment.
6. Teach your family and kids about pet parenting before you adopt.
Learn about pet care, and explain to your children that walking a dog several times a day or cleaning a cat's litter box is part of the ongoing responsibility of caring for an animal.
7. Know that some animals and young children may not play well together.
Young children may unwittingly mishandle or hurt puppies and kittens, who are particularly vulnerable to being injured. On other hand, baby animals may have needle-sharp nails and teeth that can hurt children.
8. Make sure a pet suits your home and lifestyle.
Family members may have their hearts set on a large, active dog, but that particular pooch may not be the best choice for your circumstances. Or perhaps you like the look of a long-haired cat, but aren’t so keen on daily brushing.
9. Stock up on supplies, food and toys before you bring a pet home.
Make Fido or Fluffy feel welcome with all the comforts of home. The last thing you want is to rush to the store for a litter box and hope that your new cat will patiently wait for your return!
10. Create a schedule to share responsibility for caring for your pet.
A schedule is a great way to get the family involved in your pet's care and ensure that no one forgets to walk the dog or feed the cat. It will also help foster relationships between your new furry friend and everyone in the house.