Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Pet for Your Family

Have you been having musings lately that a little ball of fur would be a good addition to the home? A furry friend to come home to, or to bring everyone together? It’s going to be an exciting time but there’s a lot more to taking home a pet than meets the eye.  

cute kitten reaching paw up:Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Who is responsible for this pet?

Sometimes the responsibility may fall on one person, if this is a child’s pet, although they will not be able to take full responsibility, you should give them some of the smaller responsibilities so that they learn how to take of the pet over time. Some pets are more hands on than others and will have different needs. A dog needs to be walked regularly, while a hamster needs a clean cage and a wheel to run in and you need to be aware of this. 

If, instead, it is the family pet then everyone needs to share the responsibilities. You can explore what tasks can be assigned and done in rotation, like walks or cleaning the litter trays. 

Who will stay with this pet during the day?

This question is particularly important when it comes to dogs. A lot of pets are fine on their own during the day as long as you have them set up with the right food and comforts, but some dogs can be very hit or miss with this. They can have separation anxiety and panic if you leave them alone for a long time and they’ll need out to relieve themselves once in a while. If you have a full-time job that isn’t remote, the kids are in school, and no one is home during the day, you will have to think carefully about what dog you can get.  Each dog’s temperament is different, some may require more training than others, or can be left on their own for longer periods without issue. You’ll also assess if you can take more days to work from home or see whether it's possible to take your dog into the office.  

puppy with large ears on orange background:Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Who will look after the pet if we’re not here? 

Similarly, if you’re planning a family holiday abroad, you will have to think about who will look after your pets while you’re away. Have you got anyone you trust to enter your home and look after your pets while you’re away or will they have to go into kennels? 

There are other options. Dogs and cats can be babysat by paid sitters or they can go to doggy day care during the daytime. 

Where will the pet be when the kids leave the nest?

It isn’t exactly the highest of priorities right now, but it’s a conversation you’ll have to have if you maybe have a teenager in the house that’s thinking about university or getting a roommate. If the dog is considered theirs more than the responsibility of the house or parents, they might want to take the dog with them after they move out of the university halls. If not, you might need to take on the responsibility. It’s something to consider if your 15-year-old insists that they want a dog, for example. 

dog being stroked:Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

Will I need pet insurance?

The answer is yes. Whether you’re getting a dog, a cat or a parakeet, you should ideally get pet insurance. Pet insurance can help you avoid a pricey payday when it turns out your pet needs a visit to the vet. Insurers like can help cover you against any potential medical treatment.