|Although you can find the perfect companion at local shelters, getting a pet should never be an impulse decision. Careful research and planning is essential, since being responsible for the happiness and well being of your pet requires more than just providing adequate food, water, and shelter. Potential pet parents should consider and agree with the following points before adopting a dog:
Remember, careful thought and planning before adopting will spare the animal the stress of being returned, and will insure your pet and your family a long and satisfying life together.
- ANIMALS ARE NOT DISPOSABLE!
• Dogs are thinking, feeling creatures. They bond deeply with their families, and they deserve the same devotion from you.
• Bringing a pet into your home should be a life-long commitment, which can easily be 10-15 years.
- PROTECT YOUR PET'S HEALTH AND SAFETY!
• Prepare for costs associated with basic and emergency veterinary care, quality food, and supplies. Pet insurance can be a big help!
• Don't be guilty of "dog storage" by leaving your dog in the back yard 24 hours/day. Exercise your dog daily and make him your companion.
• Spay or neuter for long-term health & happiness. This not only makes a better pet, but can also prevent wandering, behavior issues, serious illnessnes and certain types of cancer.
• Ensure that your dog is properly identified with a tag, tattoo, or micro-chip. At a minimum, always have your dog wear a collar with an ID tag.
• Obedience train your dog. Training helps you to better communicate with your dog, strengthens the bond between you, & ensures that your pet will be a canine good citizen.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT DOG FOR YOUR HOME
• Consider apartment pet restrictions, space, and outside access if you are gone all day.
• Pay attention to allergies.
• If travel and job relocation is an issue for you, then it is also an issue for your pet. Your commitment means making arrangements to provide quality care while you're away, or to ensure that the transition to your new home is as easy as possible.
• Some large dogs may be too strong or active for small children. Small dogs may be too delicate for active children.
• Sometimes puppies and children don't mix. All puppies chew and mouth. It is a by-product of teething. Careful supervision and education is essential. Nipping is also normal puppy behavior and should be discouraged, but should not be considered aggressive behavior.
- TEACH YOURSELF & FAMILY ABOUT PETS
• Educate yourself about pet care before you adopt. Responsibilities such as feeding and bathing, cleaning up feces, and walking are all part of caring for your pet.
• Take some time to understand dog behavior and develop realistic expectations. Many books and videos are available on the subject.
- MAKE SURE THE DOG YOU CHOOSE SUITS YOUR LIFESTYLE
• All dogs require daily exercise; however, active dogs require daily rigorous exercise, such as running, or interaction with other dogs. If you are not up to the task, choose a dog with a calmer, less active temperament.
• Someone in the home should be designated the primary caretaker, so the pet's daily needs do not become lost in the shuffle of busy schedules.