Adopting a new pet is a major commitment. Depending on age, species and breed, pet ownership can be a two decade responsibility! To help ensure a long and happy bond between you and your pet, the experts at Newtown Veterinary Specialists offer the following tips for choosing your new best friend:
- Think carefully about your schedule and lifestyle. Will your daily routine allow you to give your new pet optimum care and attention?
- Will you be able to provide medical care for your pet?
- Will your landlord, co-op, condo or neighborhood association allow pets and is there any restriction on weight or number?
- Will you be moving or traveling in the future?
Your current pets
Welcoming a new pet into your home can sometimes be challenging if you already have one or more pets.
- Has your pet ever been socialized with other pets? Has your current pet ever encountered pets of the species you are considering adopting? Does your current pet get along well with these animals?
- Do any of your current animals or potential adoptees have any medical conditions or infectious diseases that would create an unhealthy or unsafe situation? Make sure pets on both sides of the equation are up-to-date on vaccinations and have been thoroughly checked by a veterinarian before introduction.
- Introductions between existing and new pets should be made gradually, with supervision, and with LOTS of praise and positive reinforcement. If you are having difficulty successfully introducing pets, consider seeking the professional help of an animal trainer or veterinary behaviorist.
- To help ensure a successful union between animals, it’s a good idea to read up on proper pet introductions. Some reliable sources of online information on this topic can be found on the web sites of the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, Petfinder, and the American Humane Association.
Do your pre-adoption research!
- It is very important to research all aspects of your new adoption, ranging from the species, breed, and age to location and type of organization that you want to adopt from.
- Consider adopting an older pet. Because mature pets are generally less desirable to the general public there is usually a surplus of them waiting for forever homes. Older pets are house-trained and well adjusted to living indoors with people. They’re still playful, but much less likely to rip and shred everything in sight. Further, there’s less mystery surrounding an older pet’s personality and health history.
- Closely consider breed and species choices. For example, Border Collies and other herding breeds generally need lots of exercise and mental stimulation while terriers can have high prey drives. Some birds, such as Sun Conures, can be very vocal and demanding. Some cat breeds, such as Bengals, can require very attentive, experienced owners.
- Shelters and pounds are not the only places you can adopt from! There are many breed-specific rescue groups that can help you find a new friend.
- Exercise caution when adopting pets from out of state because some rescue operations are less reputable than others. Some engage in transporting unhealthy puppies long distances in overcrowded vans or trucks. These puppies can have serious illnesses, such as parvovirus and heartworm. They need homes too, but these health conditions can mean a big emotional and financial investment. Inquire closely about the health of any pet you are considering adopting.
Alternatives to adoption
- If you choose to purchase a purebred or designer crossbreed, it is essential to purchase only from a well-established, reputable breeder. Reputable breeders breed selectively and carefully and are personally invested in finding stable, loving, forever homes for their puppies or kittens. So-called “puppy mills” can contribute to pet homelessness by indiscriminate over-breeding.
- If you are not sure if adopting a new animal is the right choice for you, consider fostering a pet first. Fostering can allow you to explore new pet relationships before making a lifetime commitment. Most shelters and rescue groups are in great need of good foster homes.
Newtown Veterinary Specialists is open 24/7/365. If you think that your newly adopted pet may be sick, do not hesitate to call our main number: 203-270-8387.