Adopting an animal.

I am a big fan of animals and have been lucky enough to spend most of my life with pets. Going on shelter websites and seeing the dogs and cats they have up for adoption is often the hardest thing because I just want to adopt all of them.

But adopting a dog or cat is a big decision and there are so many things to know before you bring a new animal into your life! It’s important to realistically outline how much time, money, and effort you have. Because animals, especially dogs, take a lot of you and resources. So here are some tips and things to keep in mind:

  1. Puppies will get big.
    1. That small, adorable, and young ball of fluff that you bring into home is probably going to get much bigger in the next few months and years. Of course it depends on the breed of dog you have but as cute as many puppies are, they’re bound to grow.
  2. And animals live a long time. Significantly longer than people might think looking in the face of that cute dog.
    1. And with that –  keep in mind that expenses grow with senior and older pets, usually because of health issues.
  3. Vet bills are a regular and expensive addition.
    1. Pets need shots, check ups, flea mediction, and much more. And that’s not even including emergency treatment or care for accidents or sudden illnesses, all of which is often even more expensive and unpredictable.
    2. (Also make sure to research everything. For example, there have been unfortunate and terrible cases of flea medicine doing some serious damage to cats. That damage is only the fault of the people making it but it’s still important to look into it!)
    3. And learn the stuff that’s deadly to dogs and cats to ingest!!
  4. Odds are – you’ll need to train your new dog too, especially if they’re puppies!
    1. You have to house train them to not poop or pee in the house, plus obedience school and socialize them to other dogs and people. And you have to leash train them too because there are areas that enforce leash laws and not everyone appreciates off leash dogs. So all of that is an added expense plus a lot of time. And I really mean a lot of time.
  5. More often than not, dogs will chew on all the things you love so getting toys for them specifically to chew on is also important. And not getting attached to those shoes you accidentally left out.
  6. And if you get a cat, you have to litter train them so they don’t poop or pee all over (which they will do if you don’t immediately train them).
    1. And if they do, there’s the clean up and cleaning up that mess on carpet is much harder than you’d think. Plus you need to clean the litter box at least once every day or two, depending on how many cats you have.
  7. Biggest tip is to do a lot of research and make sure you’re ready for this! Don’t be impulsive when making this decision because it is a huge one for both you and the pet you’re bringing into your life!
    1. Top tips for adopting shelter dogs
    2. Whatcom Human Society – Basic adoption information
    3. Tips on adopting
    4. Being a responsible pet owner
    5. Guidelines to being a responsible pet owner

Other questions to ask include:

What are you going to do with them if you leave town? Do you have friends or family that can take care of your pets? Or do you have the resources and money to drop them off at a kennel or hire a pet sitter? Do you have the time for animals? Dogs need a lot of attention and need to be let out to pee and all that good stuff quite frequently. Cats need less attention but still need some affection and someone to clean out their box and feed them!

Adopting a pet is such a wonderful and great thing – I know my own life has been significantly better with dogs and cats in it. (In many ways, it’s been lifesaving.) But animals take a lot of work and resources as well!


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