3 things you should do before adding a pet to your life

As a professional pet groomer and verified pet specialist, I can tell you a few things about pets that you may or may not know. Pets can be a handful. They are a great addition to any family and provide comfort, companionship, and happiness that no other can amount to. However, with all the great things a pet offers a family and an individual, the amount of responsibility it takes to nurture a pet is often overlooked. People all over the world that have a compassion towards animals are always seeking ways in which they can help our furry friends. From adopting to buying a pet, people are always helping. What I have noticed in people adding pets to their lives is that they hardly do enough research on the pet of their choice. Most people go off of word of mouth or take suggestions from previous or current pet owners. This is not a bad way to do research but, it is not a very smart way. You see, most pet owners give you information based on perspective. Every person you meet has a different environment and a different approach to animals. For example, your neighbor may have a Labrador Retriever that he or she purchased and from day one they began puppy classes and socialization of the pet by introducing it to daycare on a regular basis. A friend of yours can have the same breed but, because he or she did not do as your neighbor did, his or her dog may be restless and a bit too much to handle. We often hear people tell us that the reason they chose their pet was because a friend or colleague advised them to.

This article will provide you with references on dog breeds, dog hybrids, cat breeds, and more useful information that will aid you in your decision to add a pet to your family. The purpose is to educate you on the types of pets that are available, where they can be found, and what you can do to prepare for a new pet. Remember, just because someone else has a great experience with a certain breed of dog or cat does not mean your experience will be replicated. It is better to know what you're getting yourself into than to jump in it and come out disliking a certain breed or pet.

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Research

Buying or adopting a pet should not be a taken lightly. You may think to yourself that it's not a big deal because you grew up with pets or have been around pets your entire life. Your mistake would be thinking that a pet won't change or affect your life. You may be capable of supporting a pet because of past experience but, all experiences are not the same. When deciding on a pet take these steps before committing:

  • Read as much as you can about dogs or cats. In a world where resources can be found through the internet, make sure you are viewing a trusted site. You can not believe everything you read on line. With that said, double check your references. See that your responses are consistent. For example, if a site tells you that a certain breed does not shed or a breeder tells you the same, double check your sources. More often than none, people are duped by breeders who sell them a pet that isn't suppose to shed but it does. This is all in the game of sales. ( Think "Car Salesman") Also, your vet isn't always right. His or her information may be a reputable source, however, vets specialize in medical conditions that your pet may have. Contact a groomer or pet nutritionist. These individuals are people that deal with pets skin and daily eating habits occasionally. Vets deal with issues that are general such as, shots, check up, emergency medical issues, and more. A Groomer works with the texture and body of the dog. A pet nutritionist promotes the health and skin by providing great useful feeding tips.
  • Breed check your pet! On the sites provided here, you can find dog breed info here and cat breed info here. The two sites provided here help guide you through breed specifics. They show a profile of the pet and provide characteristics on the pets personality. For those of you that prefer a hybrid dog, click here.
  • Visit a library of purchase a book. Used books stores are very convenient. You can also try buying online. You should decide on a book that suits your experience. If you are in the learning stages with pets, try something at a beginner level. Stay away from advanced tricks and so on. A relationship between pet and owner is the ultimate goal here. A pet should trust that you will be there for them as they will instill a valuable lesson in your life.
  • You want to be sure that when you pick a pet you pick it based on how it relates to you. What kind of housing do you have? What type of budget are you on? Are there enough resources around you to accommodate your pet? Do you have time for a pet? I decide on my pets based on what I could provide for them.

Cost

Remember when you were a child and you pretended your stuffed dog or cat was real? You would give it a home or bed and feed it whatever you imagined it would eat. It didn't cost you anything. But now, we've grown up and learned that a pet can be quite expensive especially if you have kids. One thing to keep in mind prior to owning a pet is that just like us, they require essential things to help supplement their lives. From food to treats to entertainment, such as toys, pets require all of these things for everyday life.

  • After you have read up on your pet of choice, read up on feeding guidelines. Most pet foods have these labels on their packaging. Puppies and Kittens always eat more because they are in a growing phase. Once as adults, pets tend to be feed much less. This helps keep them in a healthy state. Pet food can be very expensive. If you are seeking affordable, nutritional, and good quality pet food, check out your local pet boutique. Many places, such as pet grooming facilities, are selling quality pet food not seen in big corporate stores at an affordable price. Some brands of pet food offer discounts and free bags of food after a certain amount of purchases. (Pet Food)
  • Grooming should always be seen as a must do responsibility rather than affordability. Grooming a pet helps keep it clean and prevents horrible skin conditions. It helps remove dirt and dander from your pet. If your pet sheds grooming will provide it with help with removal of the unwanted hair. Shedding is difficult to completely be prevented or permanently stopped but, grooming greatly reduces the hair left behind.
  • Training and behavior classes work well with pets. If your budget fits some pet training classes, I say do it. In the long run, you'll have a trained and obedient pet. Look into training and behavior facilities for your pet. Ask them their prices and see if they have any deals or packages available.
  • If you work a 9 to 5 kind of job then pet sitters and pet walkers would be a great thing to add. These people care for your pet while you are away. Daycare facilities also work well with pets. Again, this isn't a must do thing for pet owners but, it does help a lot. There are many reliable and reasonable businesses that work around your schedule and your budget.

Time

What does your daily routine look like? Does it feel like time is on your side or against you? How do you schedule your day? All these are questions to think about when considering a new pet. If you find yourself always pressed for time then you might want to consider holding off on a pet. If you feel you can afford the necessary day care and training then you will be able achieve having a pet an being pressed for time. If other compassionate and committed family members can help, show them what they can do to help.

  • Puppies and kittens require a bit more attention than a mature dog and cat. I strongly advise that if you work a 9 to 5 schedule you look into acquiring daycare, pet sitting, or help from a friend. The first few months of your pet are very important. Socialization of a pet is recommended at an early age
  • House breaking is important for you and your pet. Most pet whom aren't house broken are that way due to a lack of discipline. This does not mean you should correct your pet physically but rather correct the behavior by preventing it. After meals and every few hours in the day, try to take your pet out even if they do not have to go. Give them a bit of time out there so that they become comfortable with their surroundings. Your pet will soon understand that potty must be done outside. I usually tell my dog he's been a good boy after he goes potty outside. I feel it strongly encourages him.
  • Bonding with your pet is one of the main things you should be attempting to do with your pet. This means making time for play, walking him/her around the neighborhood, introducing it to other pets, and much more. The type of bond you have with your pet will determine your pet's loyalty. Dogs and cats always look for an alpha amongst their own species. Since you are their provider, they feel you are their alpha. You should always feel that you are the one in charge and your pet is your obedient companion. Cats can be a bit difficult to bond with since they are extremely independent. Don't worry about this because cats usually take their time in getting comfortable with you.
  • Vet visits, pet grooming, and other essential needs your pet has, take up time in your life. Always plan in advanced for the things your pet is going to need. If he or she is due for vaccinations or grooming, make sure you schedule with enough time to get there and ask important questions.

Pets are extraordinary creatures that amaze us and make us laugh. They provide us with love and compassion as we provide them with the same. You will always have options when it comes to acquiring a new pet. Stay away from puppy mills and kitten mills that torture and mistreat pets. You are encouraged to ask the pet provider where the pet came from. Most AKC breeders are cleared through a rigorous process conducted by the American Kennel Club. The same goes for reputable cat breeders. Not all pet shops are made equal. Some have the fancy decor that "wow" you but are hiding the fact that their pets for sale came from an unacceptable environment. If you decide to go the online route, double-check your resources. Adopting is another great way to ensure a pet. Not only will you be helping out the community by adopting a stray or abandoned pet but you will also help with over population of pets in shelter. If you can't afford a pet but still want to help please visit the Animal Rescue Foundation. They are eager to have new members become foster parents for our furry friends.

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    Good thoughts; keep in mind that breeders are pretty good at sales, and have lots of questions to "qualify" you, the potential purchaser. You can get a equal footing by knowing what to ask them! Here's a document about what to ask the breeder: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13bh1hyaKAM6b_QKWiZ1dhh3K09-2yyM4kQ_dDckpjYE/edit

    Good Luck.

  • In reply to William Stavers:

    Thank you for that link! I found it very helpful

  • Thank you for the great addition to this article. After reviewing the link provided I found that the questions asked were well written. Thank you, again, for your contribution.

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