There are numerous studies related to pet ownership and the benefits of having a four-legged companion. Research says that having a pet can decrease things like allergies, blood pressure, loneliness and even anxiety. That’s incredible!

However, just because studies show these amazing statistics, it doesn’t mean that getting a pet is always an easy experience. Opening your home to a dog or cat might seem like an excellent idea, but there are many things to take into consideration before taking the leap. Below are a few things to think about before bringing a dog or cat into your home.

Double check your community’s pet care policy – If you no longer live in a single family home, be sure to review the pet policy at your residence. Is there a weight limit for pets? How many are you allowed to have? Is there an extra deposit that you need to worry about? What if your pet ruins the carpet? These are all important questions to ask before bringing home a pet.

Consider adopting an older dog or cat – Older pets can be wonderful companions for many reasons. An older pet might already be housebroken. Fido might also have a few behavior training classes under his belt. As you likely already know, kittens and puppies can be a bit challenging in the first few years of their lives.

Have a back-up plan for Fido – What if something comes up and you need to re-home your pet? Consider all of the options and feelings that might be involved in that. Perhaps you have a family member that is willing to help or care for your pet in times of need. A backup plan for your pet or a pet sitter is never a bad idea.

Be aware of any costs associated with owning a pet – Add up all of the foreseeable expenses associated with owning a pet and see if it fits into your budget. Then try to think about any unpredictable charges that might come up like surgery, grooming or prescriptions. Cover all of your bases before adopting a pet.

Consider a rescue pet – There’s something amazing about rescuing a pet in need. Millions of pets are euthanized every year. Adopting a pet that really needs you can be such a rewarding experience.

Think about the size of the pet and your living quarters – Be sure to select a pet that will fit into your lifestyle, literally. Remember that certain breeds need particular things. Often times a larger dog will need more outside exercise. A smaller dog can mean less maintenance. Consider all of the options and speak with a pet professional when selecting a pet that is right for you!

Have you been pondering the adoption of a companion animal? Is now the right time? Do your research and you’ll feel much more comfortable about getting a pet. Don’t adopt until you know it’s exactly what you want to do. Make sure you choose the pet that is right for you! That’s what it’s all about, after all.

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