What to Look For in a New Pet

Before choosing a new pet, consider breed, temperament and environment, among other factors.

Before choosing a new pet, consider breed, temperament and environment, among other factors.

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.

I’ve added pets to my home many times in my life.  And currently have two crazy dogs in my house.  But before adding a new pup or kitten to your home, there are some key things to look for.

Whenever looking to adopt of dog, it’s very important to look at their temperament. 

An ideal puppy is curious.  If the pup is shy, watch for fearfulness.  Every puppy deserves a good home, but fearful puppies can develop difficult personality issues as they get older.  When you take into account that most military families PCS every few years, you might consider looking for a pup that is a little more outgoing.  It’s very difficult to have an ever changing environment with a fearful dog.

Is your kitten playful or shy?

Cats are more more likely to have issues if they are shy, but dogs may we well.  A calm kitten can be ideal, but just as with puppies, a fearful kitten might have a hard time adjusting to an ever-changing environment.

How old is the puppy or kitten? 

Age matters when adopting a baby.  Just as with human children, puppies and kittens go through developmental stages and many of the crucial ones occur before the age of 8 weeks.  It is not ideal to adopt a dog or cat under the age of 8 weeks.  They learn crucial social skills in those 8 weeks, as well as learn important behavioral factors from their littermates and momma.  Pets adopted under the age of 8 weeks are more likely to develop behavioral issues.

What kind of environment are they currently in? 

Is the kitten exposed to new things?  Has the puppy met strangers before?  Is there a litter box with a certain type of litter that the kitten has gotten used to?  Or is the puppy still going on newspaper?  How they have been handled, raised and what they have been exposed to is important.  Knowing these things can help you make the transition to their new home a little less stressful.

 And the most important question to ask, no matter what the species or breed is, “Is this animal dog/cat/kid friendly?” 

It may seem odd to worry about that if the animal isn’t an adult yet, but many pets will make this determination early in life based on the things they have been exposed to.  If you see signs that the cat doesn’t seem to like your little one, you may do well to look at a different kitty.  If you already have a dog or cat, is your current pet likely to be accepting of the new addition?  Has you cat met dogs before?  Had your dog met cats?  Does your dog like other dogs?  Is your dog or cat territorial?  Answering these questions can help you understand which furry little one is going to be the best possible addition to your family, and it will also help you understand if your current family will be able to handle the new addition.


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