The decision to adopt a new pet brings an excitement unlike any other. Whether you’re looking to adopt a cat, dog, bird or pocket pet, your new bundle of joy is likely to bring big changes to your household. So how do you make the transition a smooth success? By letting the “pet experts” of Elmhurst Animal Care Center guide the way.

Ask Yourself a Few Key Questions

Before heading to the shelter to adopt a new furry friend ask yourself a few key questions and really consider your answers. If you find that the answers to these questions are iffy or don’t sit right with what you know your soon-to-be pet deserves, then the time for adopting might not be right. 

  • Why do you really want a pet? If you’re a vetted pet owner or looking to replace a lost companion, then you’re probably doing this for the right reason. But if your answer to this question has anything to do with fashion, celebrity trends, or “but she’s soooo cute!,” then you might want to rethink your motives.
  • Are you prepared to be your pet’s forever family? A pet is a huge responsibility and, when done right, a commitment that will last your pet’s lifetime. Pets require attention, training, and care that is both time-consuming and costly. If you are not able or prepared to give that to your pet throughout his or her life, you may want to reconsider.
  • Can you afford to care for your pet, even if he or she has long-term health challenges? Few people consider this possibility when adopting a pet, but quite often pets end up at the shelter because they have a chronic condition their previous owners weren’t prepared to handle. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your pet-to-be’s medical history and to truly know in your heart (and your wallet) that you are up to the task. It’s heartbreaking for you both to have to return a pet to a shelter because you can’t keep up with the care he or she needs.
  • What type of pet truly suits your lifestyle? Sure, you’ve dreamt of owning a huge, floppy Golden Retriever since you were a kid, but is that really the dog for you and your current lifestyle? If you’re living in a tiny apartment, gone from home more often than not, or living a sedentary lifestyle, probably not. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t another dog out there that’s perfect for you. Take the time to find the pet that’s right for you and your circumstances. You’ll be glad you did.

Plan Ahead

So, you’ve given all due consideration to the questions we’ve posed to you and are ready to take the plunge. But, before you go zipping off to the nearest shelter there are a few more things you should tick off your to-do list before bringing home your sweet new pet.

  • Get your supplies before you go get your pet. Make sure you have the food, litter, bedding, toys, etc. that you will need prior to getting your new pet in the car. Likewise, prep your pet’s space ahead of time. Create a true home for him or her to come home too.
  • Be prepared for the coming weeks. Schedule a wellness exam with your veterinarian prior to picking up your pet. It’s also wise to have a trainer on speed dial if you’re getting a dog. You’ll need it.
  • Discuss how to care for your pet with your children before you get your pet home. If possible, put routines in place before actually getting your pet.
  • Get to know the pet you’re interested in before bringing him or her home. If possible, take him or her for a walk or spend some time playing in a visiting room. Just because you have your eye on the cutest cat or dog at the shelter doesn’t mean he or she is right for your family. And don’t forget to consider adopting older pets. They have just as much to give (if not more) than their shiny, new counterparts.

While the list could go on (and on), we think this will get you and your new pet started on the road to success. A lot of love, a lot of patience, and a dash of good humor will go a long way toward you and your pet becoming forever family.