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Are you thinking of getting a pet?
(most of this information was found on http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-a-Pet)
Keeping a pet is a huge responsibility and can entail a long term commitment. Each animal has its own physical and emotional needs, and you must be prepared to fulfill those needs. Do your research and understand the implications. Choose carefully!
Deciding if You are Ready for a Pet:
Be ready to change your lifestyle. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and it will change certain aspects of your life. You will need to adapt your daily routine, your home environment and your financial situation to suit your pet’s needs.
A busy schedule can make it hard to keep a pet that needs a lot of attention. Some dogs, horses, rats, and cats need to be exercised by taking them out on walks or setting aside time to play with them.
Pets often require established feeding times. You will need to remember to feed your pet or come up with alternative ways to ensure your pet has had enough food every day. This is especially the case if your lifestyle includes being away from home for long periods of time.
It can be stressful to own certain pets if you travel a lot or work long hours outside of the home. Large, active pets like cats and dogs need to socialize and be socialized. Being home alone all day can negatively impact your pet’s emotional and physical well-being. You may need to hire a pet-sitter, bring your pet to a “pet daycare,” or choose a pet that can be home alone for long hours.
Make sure that everyone in your home is ready for a pet. Even though the pet may be yours, it’s necessary that everyone in your home agrees to having a pet. A pet, especially one that is young or has special needs, can be stressful and hard to handle for everyone in the home. If you have a large family with many children or you’re in a living situation with many people, it’s important you make sure everyone in the home is ready to have a pet as well.
Find out if you or anyone is allergic to a certain animal. Moderate allergies to pets can be controlled but severe allergies can pose dangerous health risks. If you are uncertain if you or someone has pet allergies, visit an allergist to help you determine if anyone is allergic to a certain animal.
Having pets when there are young children or pregnant people in the home can be difficult. A pet may experience high levels of stress with little children around or the addition of a new pet can put a strain in the lives of a family that is expecting.
Make sure your home is pet-friendly. If you’re renting or living in an apartment, condo, or town home, it’s very likely your building will have rules as to what kind of pet you are able to have. Many buildings allow smaller pets but not larger ones. Some may not allow certain animals regardless of its size and some will allow pets if a damage deposit is paid. Check with your landlord or building management for rules about the specific species, breed and size of pet that you’re allowed to have.
Get permission in writing and have your lease or contract updated. Word of mouth or permission granted vocally is often unreliable. Written proof can come in handy if you run into problems later on.
Check your municipal, county or provincial laws if you’re planning to own an exotic animal or if you are importing an animal. If you’re importing an animal from outside the country, check with airlines and Customs or Port Authority on the necessary paperwork and quarantine procedures for animals coming from the source country. These regulations can change between borders without notice at any given time, depending on health regulations.
Some pets need large open spaces to live in. Most pets can live in small homes as long as they have the opportunity to go outside or have plenty of indoor stimulation through play or interaction with others.
Save money. Keeping a pet can be more expensive than you realize. Make sure that you are in a financially stable situation. You must be able to afford to take care of a pet’s needs: its food, supplies, toys, and healthcare. You may need to save for:
- Vet appointments. With any pet, regular health checks done by your veterinarian are important. If you’re thinking about owning an exotic animal, you may need to find specialized veterinarians that are experienced in caring for them.
- Vaccinations and other preventive medications. Certain pets need to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of common pet diseases. You may also choose to protect your pet by giving them monthly preventative medications that protect them from fleas, heartworm, and other parasites.
- Unless you’re a breeder, most pets that are mammals like dogs, cats, horses, and rats, will need to go through an operation to be neutered or spayed. Having your pet fixed helps keep your pet healthy by preventing unwanted pregnancies and other health concerns such as cancer. Neutering also improves your pet’s quality of life. Unfixed pets face behavioural problems that can cause stress to both you and your pet.
- Accidents and illnesses. When your pet is ill or gets into an accident, treatment can be extensive and have a huge impact mentally, physically, and financially. You will need to prepare for costly vet bills in case of emergencies.
- Pet Insurance. Some pet owners purchase pet insurance to help pay for unexpected pet illnesses, accidents, and veterinarian visits. Keep in mind that pre-existing conditions or injuries are not covered by insurance.
- Food, toys, and grooming supplies will need to be regularly purchased by you.
- Training and daycares. Some pets will need to attend obedience or training classes. Some pets can’t be left unattended and will need to be put in daycares or other facilities that care for them while you’re away.
*Make sure that when you buy your pet that it likes you and is the right temperament. Don’t choose a pet just for the colour.
*Do check into local rescue groups or shelters for your perfect pet.
*Use care in purchasing a pet from a pet shop. Some disreputable shops get their puppies and kitten from breeding mills. This can mean the animals have genetic problems, which can cause behaviour and temperament issues, or physical problems which will require veterinary care.
* Don’t buy a pet just because you think they’re cute or cool. You should always think about the needs of your pet first before yours.
*Start small. Try caring for easy pets like a fish and then build up to caring for pets like a hamster or a guinea pig to see if having a pet is right for you.
*In the end, if you can’t own a pet, try caring for pets temporarily through fostering or volunteering at your local animal shelter.
*Research the pet before you take on the responsibility. Do not purchase animals on impulse.
*Adoption can help or even save the lives of many animals. Also, most animal rescues provide spaying or neutering services and microchips for your pets even before you adopt them.
* The death or illness of a pet can be devastating and stressful. When you choose to care for a pet, you should also understand that you may encounter moments of grief and situations where you will need to make hard decisions regarding the life of your pet.
* If you choose a pet and later realize that it is not right for you: speak with your local animal shelter. Never abandon, abuse, or kill an unwanted pet. There always alternatives and ways to surrender your pet humanely.
September 11, 2016: Wiggle-Waggle Walk-a Thon, Queen Juliana Park.