You may have been able to avoid this important decision for a few years, but now your children are begging you to adopt a pup. They may even be trying every tactic under the sun, such as the teary eyes and the endless promises of how they will take on extra chores at home and take extra special care of their new furry friend.

But, this is no decision to be taken lightly. By adopting a pup, you are in actual fact adopting a new family member. This does not only offer the possibility of much love and fun to enter your home, but it also carries its own set of responsibilities. There is much to be considered before adopting a pup.

Although it is an unbelievably good deed to adopt a pup, before you run off to your local shelter or the SPCA, you have to consider the following important factors:

Ages of Your Household Members
If you have a baby or a toddler in your family, it is not advisable to adopt a very small breed, as their bones are more fragile than bigger dogs and they can easily get hurt. If they are touched or picked up in the wrong manner, this will also trigger them to bite. Pups also have very sharp teeth and nails and can easily hurt a baby or a toddler and this will surely not be intentional.

A pup also requires a lot of care, exercise and attention. Therefore, if you have an elderly person in your household, who may have to tend to the pup during the day, a pup will not be a suitable option. Pups are generally very playful and inquisitive and elderly people are not as active and will not be able to offer the pup the exercise and attention that he or she requires.

Age and Size of the Pet
It is also important to consider the age and the size of the pet you wish to adopt. If you adopt a larger breed of dog, this may be a safer option for children, as bigger dogs have stronger bones and are less prone to getting hurt. However, an elderly person may not be able to walk or control a bigger breed and we all know how active young dogs can be!

The Primary Caregiver
In most households both men and women have to work and children head off to school. Thus, leaving your new pet at home alone during most part of the day. It is therefore important to decide who the primary caregiver will be. One person should make the most important decisions, so you would have to discuss this as a family and decide who will feed the pup and who will walk and exercise him or her. This may mean that your children will have to set aside time during their afternoon to give the pup some much needed love and attention.

Suitable Property
This may well be an important factor which many may innocently forget to consider. However, just as much as a healthy diet, love, attention and regular exercise play an important part in a pet’s life, your property is just as important. You would need to ensure that your property is both safe and pet friendly, before you bring your new pet home.

Many people live in apartments and it is not fare to a pet, to keep them indoors for most of their lives, unless you plan on having someone walk your pet or take him or her to a park on a daily basis. If you live in a residential area, you probably have enough space where your new pet will be able to run and play. However, you would need to consider having both suitable and secure fencing and/or gates.

Other Pets
This may well be the first time you consider adoption, but if you have children, chances are that you maybe own a pet (or two) already. If the answer is yes, you may need to consider compatibility. Although there are exceptions to the rule, we all know that cats and dogs do not necessarily like one another. Therefore, if you own a cat and are considering adopting a dog, you should consider how they will interact or if they could be kept apart.

Socializing Your Pet
This may not have been such a popular phrase years ago, but more and more people are realizing the importance of socializing their pets. There are Shelters who make a point of socializing larger breeds with smaller breeds and vice versa. They also socialize cats and dogs, to ensure that when these animals are adopted, they will get along with just about any animal. So, by adopting from a Shelter, you may receive a pet that will readily accept other animals. However, if this is not the case, it is advisable to socialize your pet, as this will eliminate any anxiety when you need to take your pet for a walk.

The Total Costs
Adopting a pup also has financial implications, such as the actual cost of the adoption. But, it does not end there, as there are other future costs which need your careful consideration. If you do not own any of these items, you may initially be required to purchase the following:

• Kennel
• Food and water bowl
• A bed
• Blankets
• A Collar and leash
• Toys
• A sweater for winter
• Brushes (grooming accessories)
• Preventative medicines

In addition to this list, you should consider the fact that there are items which you may have to add to your normal grocery bill, such as high quality food, shampoo, grooming costs and maybe additional toys. It is further important to consider that these costs do not yet include any Veterinary expenses, as your pup will need vaccinations and they are also at liberty of getting hurt or they can fall ill, just as we do.

Once you have carefully considered all of these aspects and your family has come to an agreement with regards to sharing this new responsibility, then you may proceed to bring your new pup home and shower him or her with all the love in the world!

Love, The PetsWell Team

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