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Thinking of Adopting a Pet?

Why do you want a pet? It sounds like a silly question — after all, who wouldn’t want a cute, playful critter hanging around? But, desiring a cute companion isn’t reason enough to add a pet to the family.

There are a lot of great reasons to adopt a pet. Perhaps you want a dog to complement your active, outdoorsy lifestyle or to serve as a playmate for your kids. Or, maybe you’re considering a cat to fight loneliness in a home where you live alone or to control bugs and rodents. For some people, it’s simply a matter of having grown up with pets and life feeling a little less complete without an animal around.

Many people choose to adopt a pet for the extensive mental health benefits. As the American Kennel Club explains, pets can provide incredible emotional support to people with mental health challenges. In fact, countless people in addiction recovery have found strength in pet ownership. Pets are recognized as helping individuals cope with the many challenges of kicking an addiction. Caring for a pet helps individuals in recovery stick to healthy daily routines, reduce stress to overcome cravings, find a sense of purpose to motivate their sobriety, among other benefits.

Once you understand your desires surrounding pet ownership, you can narrow down the type of pet that’s right for you. Consider the activities you want to do with a pet. If you want a pet you can take outdoors for active play, a dog is an easy choice. However, if you’re seeking companionship at home, there are a number of species that could fit the bill.

If you want a dog, you have another big question to answer: What breed? Different breeds of dog have different energy levels, exercise needs and personality types. Often, these traits are evident even in mixed-breed dogs. Do your research so you don’t end up with a hyperactive breed when you’d prefer a couch potato. If you do want an active-breed dog, make sure you have the time and space for it. High-energy dogs need up to two hours of exercise per day. If you don’t have a fenced backyard or you have a busy schedule, you might not be able to meet the needs of an active-breed pet.

Consider allergies as well. Even if you don’t personally have allergies, the allergies of a future significant other or child could impact your ability to provide a permanent home for your pet. To avoid the heartbreak of surrendering a pet to a shelter, consider hypoallergenic pets if your household is likely to change in the coming years.

It’s important to adopt a petversus purchasing from a breeder. Many first-time pet owners worry that adopted pets will have pre-existing issues, but the truth is, most pets at shelters are there because their owner couldn’t afford their care, not because they’re a bad pet. It’s also possible to find young and pure bred pets through animal shelters as long as you’re willing to be patient and diligent with your search.

Adding a pet to your home is an exciting time. However, it’s also a major decision that requires careful consideration. By taking these points into account before you adopt a pet, you can make a choice that brings you and your new companion comfort and joy for years to come.

Image via Unsplash

Written by: Jessica Brody -

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