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Am I Ready For A Cat or Dog? Quiz and Top 5 Musts

Updated on April 12, 2013
Will you give him toys, exercise and attention?
Will you give him toys, exercise and attention? | Source

Bringing a new pet into your home is a wonderful moment. However, it is not a decision that should be made lightly. Pets are not household items to be discarded when they become old, troublesome, or your life circumstances change. Creating a loving and long-term home for them is important for their well-being. Consider these top five “musts” when you are thinking about adopting a pet.

5. Provide a Safe Environment

Your pet depends on you for the quality of his life. Domesticated animals such as dogs and cats can only survive for a short period of time on their own. They need humans to create a safe place for them to live. When you are adopting an animal, think about the place where you plan to keep him. Research and discuss your particular animal’s needs for exercise and living space. Size alone is not an indicator of exercise or indoor square footage needs.

  • Outdoors

If you are adopting a dog, consider a safe place for him to play. If you live in a city, research local parks or green spaces for the animal to exercise. If you have a suburban home, think about fencing in your back yard to give the animal room to run and play without getting hurt.

If you are adopting a cat, decide whether or not you are going to let her outside. If you do plan to let her go outside, make sure that her claws are intact so that she is able to defend herself from larger animals and other cats.

Are You Ready For A Pet?

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Laura Frisk of PETA notes that you might want to rethink the impulse to allow your cat to be outdoors. Frisk says that she used to let her cats roam outside, never considering the dangers of “dogs, other animals, automobiles, open garages and sheds that they could get locked into, [and] abusive humans.” Cats do not need to go outside. All cats can adapt very quickly to an indoor-only life, a much safer and more viable alternative for them.

  • Indoors

Consider your indoor living space as well. If you are adopting a puppy or kitten, you may need a smaller space to keep them in at night or when you are away from your home. Puppies and kittens tend to chew on items (including electrical cords) and to be generally curious, climbing into spaces that they shouldn’t. You also want to make sure any chemicals, human food and poisonous houseplants are placed out of reach of your animal. ASPCA provides an updated list of plants that are toxic to animals here:http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/

If you are unsure, put the plant out of reach until you can speak with your vet.

4. Ensure Routine Medical Care

It is important to plan regularly yearly check-ups for your pet. Your vet is your first line of defense for prevention of everything from fleas to diabetes. Partnering with a great veterinarian can increase your pet’s quality and quantity of life considerably.

Vaccinations can prevent certain diseases. Routine check-ups can notice fluctuations in weight, one of the first indicators of health problems, and treat annoyances such as tape worms and skin diseases.

One of the most important procedures your pet can receive from the vet is spaying or neutering. There are many great reasons to spay and neuter including health benefits for your pet and the prevention of pet overpopulation.

3. Interact

Many pets need human interaction and stimulation. Domesticated animals such as cats and dogs and even ferrets and pet pigs are highly intelligent. They can enjoy and benefit from games and activities with their owners.

Dogs may enjoy squeaky toys or stuffed animals that they can fetch. The pet store may also have knotted ropes and other items for dogs that enjoy tug of war.

Cats enjoy toys filled with catnip, specially designed puzzles that you fill with treats and cat fishing poles where a toy or feather is tied to a string. The cat can then chase and pounce, getting exercise and interaction.

Taking care of the essentials, food, water, and shelter, are absolute musts. But consider your pets needs for mental stimulation, playing and interaction with you, too.

2. Make a Lifetime Commitment

Pet adoption should not be seen as something that is a temporary commitment. Realizing all the pro's and con's of ownership,from the trials of puppies and kittens to the health issues of older pets, will help you to truly decide if a pet is the right choice for your family.

No pet is perfect. They will make messes; they may have behavioral issues; they may develop health issues. It is important to consider these potential issues before adopting. If you don't feel like you would be willing to work with the animal to overcome problems they may develop, then you may not be ready for a pet.

You will also want to consider future life changes. If you know that you may move in the future, are you willing to make the necessary arrangements to transport your pet to her new home? If you are planning to have children are you willing to work with your animal to help him go through the transition and shift in family dynamics? If someone in your family develops allergies or your time-commitments change, what will happen to your pet? What will be your solution?

Pets are living creatures. They should not be discarded at the first sign of trouble or change. Make a commitment now to work with your pet through all of life's changes. If you are willing to do this, then you are probably ready to adopt.

Have you got what it takes to give her a loving home?
Have you got what it takes to give her a loving home? | Source

1. Love

Because pets are highly intelligent, they can also experience a range of emotions including love. While expressing complicated feelings is reserved for higher order mammals, the tone of your voice, the gentle caress, and the care you provide all help to tell the animal that you love them. Providing safety, vet care, interaction, and reaffirming your commitment to your pet are all ways to show him that you care.

Pet ownership has highs and lows but is ultimately a very rewarding experience. There is nothing quite like the love and loyalty of a pet.

Final Thought: Consider Adopting A Rescue Animal

Adopting a resuce animal may be a great choice for your family. There are all types of breeds and sizes of animals available through shelters and rescue groups. You will not only be getting a new best friend, you will also be saving a life.

Contact your local shelter or search for rescue groups, by breed, on the internet.

Do You Believe Pets Are A Lifetime Commitment?

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