Bringing a pet into your life is a big step. Caring for another living thing is a huge responsibility, and there are a number of things you need to consider beforehand to set both you and your pet up for success.
We spoke to our team and they’ve come up with five important things to think about before adding a furry member to your family.
1. Having a pet is a long-term commitment
The average lifespan of a dog is around 12 years, however some dogs and cats can live until they are 15 or even 20 years of age.
You may look at a puppy or kitten and gush at how adorable they are, but you need to be prepared for them to grow into adult animals that are, in some cases, much larger than the babies they once were.
2. Are you prepared to properly care for a pet?
Having a pet is a big responsibility – that responsibility includes being able to exercise them, socialise them, groom them, feed them, train them, play with them, and spend time with them.
These needs will vary depending on the type of pet you get, but every pet will require a range of care in all those areas.
For example, some cats will only need you to feed them twice a day, spend time with them and play with them. Some dogs, on the other hand, will need feeding twice a day, walking once a day, and regular grooming, training, and attention.
3. You’ll need to be patient with them while they settle in
When adopting a pet, a huge part of caring for them, especially at the start, is helping them settle in to their new home and come out of their shell.
This process takes time and will be different for every animal. Many rescue animals have experienced hardship in their short little lives, and it will take time, effort, and patience on your part to help them become the best pets they can be.
This process doesn’t happen immediately – in fact, it can take months before an animal is comfortable enough in their new home to be themselves.
As we said, each animal is different, however a general guide to follow is the ‘3 day, 3 week, 3 month rule’.
The first three days are a period where the pet needs to calm down and decompress. They may not eat or drink anything and cats may spend a lot of time hiding behind or under furniture. They may be hesitant to spend time with you and they may misbehave while they are testing and learning boundaries.
In the first three weeks, you may begin to see more natural behaviours. They may start to explore their new environment, gain more confidence, eat more frequently, and show more of their personality.
After three months, they will hopefully be starting to feel more at home. They’ll have learned your routine, begun to build trust with you, and may even enjoy being around you.
Keep in mind that this process isn’t an exact science – every animal is different, and the timeline will differ depending on your pet.
Your cat might take time to settle in before you can spend time with it and pat it. Like the above cat, they might look scared when you approach them.
4. Will a pet fit in with my home and lifestyle?
When you’re thinking about adopting a pet, you need to consider what kind of lifestyle you lead and what sort of home you have.
Do you work long hours from somewhere other than home? Do you have a busy social life? Do you travel regularly? Do you live in a house with a large, secure backyard or a unit? These are all things you need to think about before adopting a furry family member.
Animal shelter staff will be able to advise you about each animal’s specific needs and recommend a pet that will fit in with your home and lifestyle.
5. Can I afford a pet?
As any pet owner will tell you, looking after a pet can be an expensive exercise. If you adopt an animal from Animal Welfare League, it will already be vaccinated, microchipped, desexed and health-checked, however you will need to be prepared for ongoing veterinary costs for the rest of its life, as well as food, toys, treats, bedding, care when you travel, and grooming.
Have you been thinking about adopting? Click the button below to check out which animals are currently available!