Sunday, April 14, 2013

Take Time

Are you considering adding a pet to your family?  My advice to everyone is to put down the wallet and stop and think about your decision.  One of the biggest reasons pets get abandon is lack of knowledge.  What do you know about that cute and cuddle baby you have your heart set on.

We have people who come into the store ... see some cute (or sometimes not so cute) critter and decide they have to have it.  Sometimes, once you start explaining things to them, they realize that's not the pet for me.

We had a gentleman in the store the other day looking for a better filter for his turtle tank.  When I started talking to him, he told me he could only go three weeks before the tank started to smell and had to clean it.  Three WEEKS..... poor turtle!  I started to explain how he needs to clean it more often not less.  Turtles in a tank need exceptionally clean water.  With their limited habitat ... if you don't clean it very frequently ... you are forcing them to drink the same water that they pee and poop in.  So before you give in to your kids on that Hamster, Guinea Pig, Snake or Fish ask yourself some questions.

1. Why do you want to adopt a pet?

Did you stop in the pet store to let your kids check out the animals and now they are begging and crying for that adorable dwarf hamster?  Are you looking for the loyal and steady companionship that an animal can offer? Are you hoping to fill the empty place left after a pet has passed? Maybe you want a companion for your child. Knowing why you're preparing to bring a pet home will help you to determine which pet is right for you or if you’re ready for a pet at all.

2. Is your family ready for a pet?

Keep in mind this is how I ended up with Lucky.  The family had a 4 year old and wasn’t ready to deal with the behavior of their new puppy.  If your kids are still toddlers, you might consider waiting a few years before getting a pet.  Small children don’t understand their own strength when It comes to handling animals and do a lot of harm which in turn can get them hurt when the pet bites them to protect themselves. Children who are mature enough can happily share pet-care duties. You may also have another pet at home who's not yet—or may never be—ready to share his kingdom with another animal.

3. Are you ready to make a long-term commitment?

When bring a pet into your life you are making a commitment to care for an animal for the rest of his life—that could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats, some birds and reptiles can live up to 100+.  As you go through lifestyle changes such as moves, the birth of children and new jobs, your animal will remain a permanent part of your life. If circumstances change, will you still be able to care for your pet?

4. What kind of pet is right for you?

Your personality and lifestyle, along with challenges such as space restrictions and amount of time spent at home, should be explored to determine what pet is right for your household. Researching different pets can help you determine which will fit into your life.  A trip to your local library can help.

5. Can you afford to care for your pet's health and safety?

Owning a pet costs more than just buying the pet, initial supplies . Food, veterinary care, spaying or neutering, cleaning supplies, water usage, and time needed to properly take care of a pet, can add up

6. Are you prepared to deal with an animal's health challenges?

Fleas, allergies and sudden medical issues are just a few of the health-related problems that potential pet owners may face. Can you care for your pet if he gets sick?  Many people don’t want to fork out $100 to heal a $10 pet but if you take that hamster home he is now your responsibility.  Research your local vets and make some calls to see who is qualified to take care of the kind of pet your looking into.  Most vets only do dogs and cats if you’re getting a reptile or small animal you may have to make even more call to find a vet that’s right for you.  When making these calls make sure you ask how much it costs for a vet visit for the animal you are considering.

7. Will you be able to spend quality time together?

Most pets thrive on several hours of companionship every day, and pets who are constantly left alone can become antisocial and even afraid of you. Cats are healthiest and happiest indoors If your work demands that you travel often, or if you're out of the house most days and evenings, this may not be the right time to that cute kitten.  Guinea pigs can become depressed if left alone for too long.  Hamsters left to themselves will become afraid of you and start to bite.

8. Are you willing to train your animal companion?

Lack of training is one of the most common reasons that people get rid of pets—are you willing to solve behavior problems?  By doing some research on what needs to be done with your pet will help you decide if a pet is right for you.  Are you willing to take your dog to a good trainer or just that guy down the street who will use a shock collar to fry them into submission?  Are you ready to deal with training your cat where to scratch or just get mad because they've scratch up your furniture?  Are you prepared to handle that reptile, small animal or bird to get them use to human interaction or just leave them in the cage and ignore them? 

9. Are you prepared to pet-proof your home?

Whether it's tightly sealing your garbage cans or paying attention to dangerous decorations during the holidays, you'll need to make your home safe before taking home a pet.   Some pets are very good at getting into places you don’t want them others .

10. Is your living space adequate for an animal companion?

First thing you need to do is check the rules.  If you’re renting or have a strict HOA check to see if there are any restrictions on the type or size of pet you own.  Be sure to choose an animal who will thrive in your home. If you're attracted to energetic large-breed dogs, but live in a small apartment, your new best friend may drive you nuts because he doesn’t have enough room? If you live in a noise home, will it disturb your new feathered friend?

1 comment:

Sandee said...

These are all spot on. We considered all these things before getting our Little Bit. She's our baby and she comes first. Always. She's brought us such joy.

Have a terrific day. :)