Our guest poster works in an ER, is an experienced Vet Tech, loves animals, and is a busy Marine wife. Please visit her blog – ABoyAGirlAndTheMarineCorps – for more great info and perspective.
WAIT!¬† Before you buy that pet, think about these things!
With puppy and kitten season well underway, the most common question I get asked is what to look for when choosing a new furry family member.¬† This is a loaded question because there are a variety of angles to consider.¬† Temperament, environment, current pets, children, breed and even where you adopt from all play vital roles in finding a life long new family member.
I always recommend starting with taking a long look at your current home, possible future homes/duty stations and the environment you have to offer.¬† When adopting any animal, regardless of breed, you have to be sure that you can meet the needs of the pet, but also that it will be a good fit for your family.
The questions I suggest asking yourself about your life and your home before adopting are:
Does the animal I want have experience with small children (if you have them)?
Not all pups or kitties are tolerant of children, even when adopted at a young age.¬† I suggest asking the shelter or breeder if the pet has met children and whether or not it has a good temperament for living with them.¬† Also, do you have the time to ensure that you can teach your small child how to handle a puppy or kitten, or even an adult pet being adopted by you?¬†¬† It‚Äôs always a shame when animals end up having to be rehomed due to this issue.
Do I have time to potty train a puppy?¬†
Though males are harder than females to potty train (usually), there is still A LOT of patience involved.¬† And some breeds are more of a challenge than others to train.¬† Your puppy is going to pee all over your house whether you want it to or not.¬† It takes time and patience to potty train a puppy.¬† In instances where you don‚Äôt think you do have time, I encourage considering adopting an adult dog.¬† They are often already potty trained and can be a joy to rescue.
Can you puppy proof your house?¬†
A bored puppy is a destructive puppy.¬† And a puppy is curious by nature.¬† This means that your house has to be set up to keep them out of things, but also keep them from destroying your home.¬† Setting up your home for a puppy or kitten is very similar to child proofing a house for a crawling infant.
Have you looked into the temperament of the breed(s)?
When adopting a dog or cat, breed can play a big role in personality.¬† Though it‚Äôs less common to see purebred cats in shelters, all breeds are different, regardless of species.¬† It‚Äôs very important to not base the animal you want on how cute they are.¬† Cuteness will only get you so far if you end up with terrible dogs like mine!¬† Be sure you understand common breed traits and personalities.¬† There are a ton of website set up to help you learn about them all so you can pick the right pet.¬† Also, is it likely that you will be able to take that pup or kitty with you when you PCS again?¬† There are a lot of bases with breed bans in effect.¬† And do you have time to groom a longhaired cat?¬† They are beautiful, but can be very time consuming to care for.
What do you want from your pet?
Are you looking for a dog to jog with you every day?¬† Do you want a kitty that will be a companion to you or another pet? Do you want a lazy pet that will lounge with you?¬† Just as breed plays a roll in personality, it will play a roll in how active the animal is.¬† Do you love German Shorthaired Pointers?¬† I do too!¬† But I know I do not have the time or energy to keep one.¬† They need A LOT of exercise and can be very difficult to own if you can‚Äôt keep up.¬† It‚Äôs important to look at what roll you want your furry friend to play in your life before committing to one.
¬†Can you afford your pet?
This might seem like a silly question to ask, but pets are expensive.¬† Puppies and kittens need check ups; vaccinations and often deworming the minute you get them home.¬† All pets should get regular checkups too.¬† And factor in food, possible emergencies and toys your babies are bound to destroy and the dollars add up fast.¬† Before committing to owning a new/another pet, make sure you are prepared to financially care for them.
By asking yourself these basic questions, you can begin to paint a realistic picture of what pet will be a good fit for your home.¬† Getting a new furry member of the family is a joy, but it‚Äôs important that you know what to think about when decided to add one to your home.