THINKING OF ADOPTING A PET?
Adopting a pet can be a wonderful, exciting, life-changing experience. However, it is also a long-term commitment that requires thought and planning.
Before deciding to adopt or purchase a pet, consider the following:
What is your lifestyle like? Do you spend regular time at home, or are you on the go from morning until night? Do you often leave home for extended periods of time? If you do, do you have the necessary funds to put you dog in a kennel or get a babysitter? Are you bothered by hair on your furniture?
These are all important questions to ask yourself before making the commitment to adopt. Some pets may suit your lifestyle better than others. Talk to an expert if you need guidance in finding an animal that's right for you.
The time & cost of owning a pet
Caring for a pet requires an ongoing investment of both time and money. Animals are living creatures with needs. While all dogs require exercise, some require more than others. If you are planning to adopt a large or notably energetic breed, be prepared to take time out of your day to go on regular walks. Furthermore, consider how much attention your pet will require. Some animals such as parrots, dogs, and even some cats, will get depressed if they are left alone for too long.
Your ability to train the animal
Many animals, especially young ones, require training. Even among dogs, personality and breed can make some animals more difficult to train than others. Be honest about your experience and don't be afraid to ask shelter staff or a breeder about a particular animal's temperament. Before adopting, learn as much as you can about the animal, and prepare yourself for potential struggles you may experience.
Other pets in your family
Cats and dogs can get along great in some cases, but this is highly dependent on the individual animal's temperament, as well as they way they are introduced. You may want to reconsider introducing a cat into the house if you already have a dog with a high prey drive. Ultimately, it is up to you to do the research to figure out whether a new animal will be compatible with other pets in your home.
The Cost of Pet Ownership
What are the costs associated with pet ownership?
Your pet is a member of your family; your pet is priceless. However, your pet comes with some financial obligations.
First, remember that there's no such thing as a free dog or cat no matter what an ad says. Right away your new pet will need three sets of vaccinations - at one month intervals - costing around $100 per set. From there, they will need to be spayed or neutered - at an average cost of about $300 - and microchipped at a cost of approximately $30.
If you choose to adopt your new pet from a shelter or rescue (and you should!), vaccinations, the cost of spaying/neutering, and microchipping are generally included in the adoption fee. ADOPTING FROM A SHELTER WILL SAVE YOU HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS.
Adoption fees vary from shelter to shelter and with the animal's species (dog versus cat), breed and size. Expect to pay around $300 to $400 to adopt your newest family member.
Your new pet is going to need some items! Like a bed, and toys, and dishes etc. The cost of start-up accessories varies hugely with estimates ranging from $200 to $500, depending on how much you want to spend.
If you don't choose to adopt from a shelter or a rescue, you can count on spending in the neighbourhood of $1,000 on your new pet right away. However, some studies peg the initial costs of pet care much higher - around $300 for a puppy and $1,900 for a kitten. Remember that this is ON TOP of what you paid to get your new pet in the first place.
If you adopted your new pet from a shelter or rescue, you'll still need to set aside $200 to $500 for initial pet supplies; but, spaying/neutering, initial vaccinations and microchipping are (generally) included in your adopting fee.
On top of your costs to get your new pet equipped, there are on-going expenses. Your pet is going to need to be fed. Food costs are highly variable. There will be the costs of other supplies - such as: treats, chews for dogs, litter for acts, replacement toys - that will reoccur.
Your pet is going to require an annual veterinary check-up and vaccinations at a cost of approximately $100. Your municipality may require that your dog or cat be licensed annually. For a pet who is spayed/neutered this will cost around $30.
Estimates of the annual cost of owning a pet range from $1,000 to $4,500. Remember that these costs are estimates and will be affected by things like: your pet's specific needs, your lifestyle, where you live, how much you want to splurge, etc.
In addition to the obligatory initial and on-going costs associated with caring for your pet, there are a number of other costs that you may incur:
Senior pets require special care, such as certain screening tests and more frequent wellness exams. This additional care will translate into additional veterinary costs.
You should count on your pet needing a dental cleaning at some point in their life. The cost of a dental cleaning for your pet can run in the neighbourhood of $1,000.
Pet health insurance can help financially in the event of a veterinary emergency a veterinary emergency; some policies will cover some of the costs associated with routine care too. If pet health insurance is some you choose to get, you will need to budget for insurance premiums.
Things to consider:
Do you travel? Now that you have a dog or cat in your life, the cost of boarding or pet-sitting will need to be included in your travel budget.
Is your new pet a dog? Is your yard fenced? If not, you may want to add the cost of fencing to your initial expenditures.
Does your pet have a coat that requires regular grooming?
Do you want to take your need dog to obedience classes? Or take part in an activity such as agility or flyball? If so, you will incur costs associated with registration, etc.
Do you rent your home? Most property management companies will require that you pay a one-time, no-refundable pet fee (approximately $300) and a monthly pet surcharge on your rent (approximately $25).
Pet ownership is one of the greatest, most rewarding experiences you can have; however, the costs associated with caring for your pet add up. Before venturing into pet ownership, take a good look at your financial situation to ensure that you will be able to provide your pet with the very best of care.
Responsible Pet Ownership
Pet ownership is a privilege that requires commitment and preparedness.
All household members will be affected by your decision to adopt a pet. Make sure you discuss your choices with them before adopting.
Consideration should be given to the adaptability of pets you already have. Species and gender compatibility should also be considered.
Responsible pet ownership means thinking critically about what you will need to do for the pet and how owning a pet will impact your life. Being responsible can include the following:
Choose a pet that is well suited to your home and lifestyle
Commit to caring for your pet for its entire life
Keep only the type and number of pets that you can provide for adequately
Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money
Be prepared to provide adequate care including preventative and emergency health care, nutrition, spaying or neutering, training, exercise, and mental stimulation
Animals that spend extended periods of time outside require habitats that protect their health, safety, and welfare
Outdoor confinement of an animal should include provisions to minimize distress or discomfort to the animal
Outdoor animals should have access to food, water, and appropriate shelter from the weather
Adhere to local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements
Help manage overpopulation by controlling your pets reproduction through managed breeding, containment, or spay/neuter
Prevent your pet from negatively impacting other people, animals and the environment. This includes proper waste disposal, noise control, and not allowing pets to stray or become feral
Include your pets in your planning for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit
Make arrangements or plans for the care of your pet when and if you are unable to do so
Recognize declines in your pets quality of life and making decisions in consultation with the veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care
Responsible pet ownership also means adhering to any laws within your area regarding animal ownership and animal welfare.
The Human-Animal Bond
What is the human-animal bond?
The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between animals and people that is influenced by behaviours essential to the health and wellbeing of both. This includes emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment.
For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed a close bond with animals. Historically, animals have helped humans meet their needs for food, clothing, entertainment, and transportation. Animals are also a source of unconditional love. Interactions with animals can help decrease loneliness and anxiety, promote social interaction and encourage us to get much-needed exercise.
Learn more about the human-animal bond:
While animals contribute significantly to our quality of life, the sad reality is that animals may also be the victims of abuse or neglect at the hands of human beings. There is a growing awareness that cruelty to animals and violence to people are closely related. The connection between interpersonal violence and animal abuse -- commonly referred to as "the Link" -- may be seen in a variety of ways:
When animals are abused, people maybe be risk;
When people are abused, animals may be at risk.
See the ViolenceLink.ca website for more information on the Link.