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Considerations before getting a dog/cat

I have done adoption coordinating for cat and/or dog rescues on and off since I was a teen. Here are some things one should consider prior to adopting:

Considerations before getting a dog/cat
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    1. Breed/Type

    Certain breeds of dogs (and some cats) require very specific needs, and if you aren't able to meet those needs it can turn into a disastrous situation. A bored Belgian Malinois is a destructive pup. A unexercised border collie will drive you insane. Carefully consider your lifestyle and find breeds that line up with how you live.

    2. Commitment

    Animals are a commitment. Dogs and cats can live 10-20+ years and throughout that time they have various needs you'll have to meet. Are you ready to walk your dog in the rain? The snow? Take it out at 4am? Pick up a nice wet hairball on your new carpet? It'll happen.

    3. Is Everyone on board?

    If you live alone this one is a bit easier, but if you live with others you'll want to make sure everybody is on the same page in terms of the animal you are adopting, your approach to training, and other care.

    4. Expect the Unexpected

    Similar to humans, animals can develop medical conditions that require care (and it's expensive) - prescription diets, or specialized diets, they can get sick or injured...point is things happen and you need to be prepared when it does.

    5. Finances

    Which leads to finances. Some people go all in on pet insurance (review them and choose wisely) and others make sure they have a healthy emergency fund for pet things. Some don't plan at all and are stuck trying to figure it out when things arise. Emergencies aside, annual visits, vaccines, pet licensing, grooming (if needed), training, food (especially if specialized), toys, etc...these things add up and can be very expensive. The number of people who end up surrendering their pet because they simply cannot afford care is high. Don't be that person.

    6. Vacation/Trip Planning

    Do you like to travel? If so, make sure you have a solid plan in place for when you go away. Will your pet have a in-home sitter? Do you have family nearby that can take them? Do you want to pay for boarding? Does the boarding place accept new animals? Figure this out ahead of time.

    7. Behavioral Issues

    We all expect our pet to be the best behaved goodest boy/girl on the planet. However, some have "quirks" that require additional training and care. Are you prepared to put in the extra time and effort into training a dog with separation anxiety? Or one that is leash reactive?

    8. Personalities

    Similar to behavior, your pet may not end up acting as you expect it. Perhaps you wanted a running mate, and your dog is the biggest, cuddly couch potato in the state. Or you wanted to friendly cat, and you got Miss Attitude Central who knocks things off the shelf when she's hungry.

    9. Puppies = Drunken Dinosaur Toddlers

    Puppies are so cute, but my god are they demons. Between the potty training, zooms, behavior lessons, and chewing everything...yeah. Best wishes. You'll get through it, but it's a tough time.

    10. Research your rescue/breeder

    There are lots of questionable breeders and rescues out there. Look around, do some research. A breeder or rescue that continues to ask for more money or makes you feel ill at ease probably isn't a good place to get a dog from. Happy to chat more about this if you have any questions.

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