Self-Assessment Questions Before Getting a Pet

Adopting a pet is a big commitment. It’s important to consider your lifestyle and personality before adopting a pet. Make sure that a dog or cat will fit into your family’s lifestyle and be able to adjust to any changes. Dogs especially need a lot of exercise and require a long walk daily.

Are you ready for a pet?

A pet is a lifelong commitment and requires constant care. A pet may be wrong if you’re not ready for that responsibility. Pets can be expensive, especially if you buy them from a store or shelter. You’ll also have to consider veterinary expenses, food, toys and other accessories. Consider putting a little money away each month to cover these costs. Finally, you’ll need to decide whether or not your family is ready for a pet. 

Are you ready to commit to a lifetime of care?

Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment; you should only consider going through the adoption process if you’re ready. Every year, millions of dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and other pets end up in shelters across the United States. The animals suffer when some of these creatures are not adopted into loving homes. If you can’t find someone to care for your pet, some legal tools can help. A will or a statutory pet trust (there are different types of these in each state) can establish funds for lifetime care. It is also important to consider how you will cope with your pet’s end-of-life. It can be an emotionally challenging time, but you should make plans that will help ensure your pet’s comfort and safety.

Are you ready to make a financial commitment?

Adopting a pet is both a lifelong and a financial commitment. Besides the adoption fee, there will be expenses for food, equipment and ongoing veterinary costs. You should have enough money in your budget to cover these costs. If you live with a significant other or family members, are they willing to share the responsibility of caring for a pet? Dogs and cats need daily care, including walks, exercise, entertainment and love. It may also mean arranging for someone to stay with the pet if you go on vacation or work long hours. Be sure to take the time to visit a shelter or look online for animal adoption. It will help you find the right pet for your lifestyle and household needs.

Are you ready to commit to training?

A pet needs clear rules and consistent discipline. It also requires much attention—playtime, walks, or feedings. If you live with a partner or family, decide who will be responsible for daily pet care and what chores your children can help with. It would help to consider your work schedule and social life before adopting a pet. You may need to find a dog sitter if you work long hours or take frequent trips. Pets, from food and toys to vaccines and cleaning supplies, can be expensive. It’s important to budget for these expenses. Also, consider pet insurance to help cover medical costs. Your local animal shelter or rescue center may offer advice and recommendations.

Are you ready to give your new pet a home?

Having a pet is a lifelong commitment, so ensure you and your family are ready to give your new pet a home. Ensure everyone knows what is expected of them – dogs need daily exercise and frequent litter changes, and cats require lots of stimulation to keep them from getting bored. Stock your house with food and toys your pet likes, and establish a routine to help them settle in. Pet-proof your home is also a good idea so that items such as garbage can lids, loose electrical cords and household chemicals are out of their reach. Be honest about any past behavioral issues your pet may have, as this could save them from being returned to a shelter later. Introducing them to any other pets you have in the home is also important.