The Humane Society works with local groups to provide services and resources to pet owners who feel forced to give up an animal due to a move, landlord conflict or unexpected veterinary costs. They suggest that potential pet owners ask themselves these 10 questions before committing to taking an animal into their family:
1. Why do you want a pet?It’s a long-term commitment, not a decision to be made lightly.
2. Do you have time for a pet?Animal companions need food, water, exercise, care and companionship every day.
3. Can you afford a pet? Licenses, training classes, spaying and neutering, veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, kitty litter and other expenses add up quickly.
4. Are you prepared for the challenges that a pet can present?Flea infestations, scratched furniture, housetraining accidents and medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.
5. Are you allowed to have a pet where you live?Many landlords don’t allow pets, and many rental communities have restrictions. Certain types of dogs also may be excluded from homeowner insurance policies.
6. Is it a good time for you to take in a pet?If you’re a student, in the military, or travel frequently for work, for example, it would be better to wait until you settle down.
7. Are your living arrangements suitable for the animal you have in mind?Animal size is not the only consideration. For example, some small dogs are very active, require a lot of exercise to be calm, and often bark at any noise. Research breeds to help you choose an animal who fits your lifestyle and living arrangements.
8. Will you be a responsible pet owner?Having your pet spayed or neutered, obeying community leash and licensing laws, and keeping identification tags on your pets are all part of being a responsible owner.
9. Do you know who will care for your pet while you’re away for long periods or on vacation?You’ll need either reliable friends and neighbours or money to pay for a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.
10. Are you prepared to keep and care for your pet for the long haul?When you adopt, you are making a long-term commitment to care for an animal.