Adoption Checklist

A few things to consider before adopting a pet

Potential housing issues

Have you checked with your apartment manager or landlord to make sure pets are allowed?  Is a deposit required?

If applicable, have you checked with your roommate(s) and/or other family members to make sure they too would welcome a new pet to the household?

If you are adopting a dog, do you have a fenced yard? Perhaps a small dog could be happy in an apartment, but many large, young and/or energetic dogs need a fenced yard to exercise in.

Time commitment

If you are a student, have you considered who will take care of your pet during school breaks? Sometimes it's not possible for students to take their pet with them over the summer and at holidays.

Are you at home enough to give a pet the attention she/he requires? Depending on a dog’s individual personality, age and exercise needs, it may not work well  if you are away much of the time. Two dogs are often happier than one if they are going to spend much time alone. If you cannot have two dogs and are away for several hours a day, you might consider adopting another type of pet.

Young animals, like young children, are usually very active and have a lot to learn. Puppies and kittens can be destructive. You must provide the proper training, toys and attention they require. In many situations, an adult animal might be a better fit.

Children and pets

Are you choosing the right pet for the younger members of your family? Some young children can be too rambunctious for a tiny kitten, and conversely, a large, bouncy puppy can be too rough for a small child.

Financial needs of pets

Are you financially able to care for a pet? Sometimes pets become ill and require veterinary attention. At a minimum, pets need annual vaccinations and veterinary check-ups.

Pet personality

Have you considered the type of pet personality that might fit your lifestyle best? Many people fall in love with the physical appearance of a particular animal and give little thought as to whether or not the animal’s personality is the right fit. It is important to remember that looks aren't the only thing you'll be living with for the lifetime of that animal. Think about humans. It's what's inside that really counts!

Bringing new pets into a household with other animals

If you already have a pet, will she/he accept a new member of the family? Initially many animals resent new additions. Resident pets are going to have to share you with the new arrival. They might initially defend their territory against an “invader.” In most instances, dogs will become friendly with each other if introduced properly and given adequate time. Cats are not naturally social animals and, with the exception of kittens, may require quite a long adjustment period. Often, older animals are too set in their ways to readily accept a newcomer. Patience and proper introduction techniques are very important!

Click here for a great resource on introducing a new dog into the household, and here for introducing a new cat into the household.

Think it over

Before you make the decision to adopt, it is important to consider a variety of things including: where the animal will sleep, eat, defecate and stay when you aren't home. We suggest that, rather than being an impulse decision, that pet adoption should be a decision that has been well thought out. We know how tempting a cute face can be, but recommend that you give careful thought to what it means to provide a pet with a lifetime of love and care.