Who else has driven by a pet shop and experienced the urge to stop to see cute kittens or puppies? I know I have. When doing this, I had to resist the impulse to buy one or ten! For the sake of the animal, it is better not to adopt or purchase a pet on a whim. Better to allow cooler heads to prevail. Choosing to bring a new pet into your home because of their cuteness, is not good for the pet or you. When you choose to get a new pet, remember you are adding a long term member to your family. It is important to recognize our desires are not always what we need. Adding a pet to your family is a serious decision which deserves careful, thoughtful consideration.

Before getting a new pet, do your homework. Learn all you can about the kind of pet you are considering. A new pet will change the structure of your family. If you’re thinking about getting a new puppy, learn about the various breeds. Their personalities, abilities, and needs are as varied as those of us humans. So take your time to determine what type of pet best fits your family, lifestyle, and needs.

The local humane society and community rescue groups are good places to start your search once you’ve determined what type and breed of pet you wish to welcome into your family. Again, it is important to take your time. Don’t make your decision based upon the opinions of those caring for these pets. Observe the pet when you are with it. Make a list of its positive and negative traits. Give careful consideration to those traits you deem most attractive as well as those that give you pause.

Consider your lifestyle. Are you in a position to give the time and patience a new pet requires? Do you work long hours? Are you a neat freak? Do you have a baby or children? How will they react to a new pet? Do you travel often? Is your yard fenced in? Do you live in an apartment? These questions and many others should be answered before you adopt or buy a new pet.

Another important subject to contemplate is your personality. If you are independent, that is an important personality trait to take into account when choosing a pet; Are you interested in a pet that would be an energetic companion with whom you can play? People who like cats tend to have different personality traits from those who prefer dogs. Choosing a pet as a companion for a child is common. However, an important question to ask yourself is whether you expect your child to be a primary caregiver to your new pet. If you are buying or adopting a new pet to teach a child responsibility, carefully consider whether they demonstrate the level of maturity necessary to care for another living being. Being forced to care for a pet is not teaching a child responsibility. If you decide to bring a pet into your family, have a carefully thought out plan about who will be the primary caregiver.

Another valid question to consider is whether this is the right time in your life to get a pet. If you have other pets, ask yourself if they will get along with a new one. Are you living on your own? Are the relationships within your home stable? Are there any health problems that exist? The are all important questions to examine before making a decision to get a new pet.

Carefully reflect on whether you are able to give a new pet the attention and care it demands. Is your schedule going to provide you ample time to feed, clean, and play with your pet? Ask your friends and family who have pets about what care and attention theirs require. Many dogs will get bored and develop unhealthy behaviors if they are not provided enough attention. It isn’t fair to the pet to bring her or him into your family if you simply don’t have the time to provide an appropriate amount of attention to their care.

Finally, one of the most important items to consider is whether you can afford the type of pet you wish to adopt or purchase. You will incur considerable expense in the care of your pet. Expenses include food, products, prevention medication, veterinary care, grooming, boarding or pet sitting. Pets, not unlike children, require a significant amount of money throughout their lifetime.

Our pets become our best friends and loyal companions. They give our lives much joy and meaning. It is almost impossible to quantify the positive aspects of having a pet. However, choosing to adopt or purchase a new pet should be a decision made after careful consideration. Taking the time to deliberate and explore your choice will pay tremendous dividends to you, your family, and most importantly, your pet.

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