Adopting a Pet - checklist
Adopting an SPCA animal is a rewarding experience. It is also a commitment for the animal's lifetime, so making the right match is critical. Before you adopt, you need to answer some vital questions. We at Marlborough SPCA will be happy to assist and talk you through this.
1. Impulse or commitment
You must consider why you want to adopt a pet and understand the changes it will make to your life. Pets are companions. They live with us and depend on us for all of their needs. This is a great responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. You must be willing to make this commitment.
2. For the children
You should not adopt a pet under the assumption that it will help children learn responsibility by having something to look after. Children are enthusiastic in the beginning but can tire quickly of the routine of pet care, especially the messy tasks.
Getting any pet must be a family decision and a family responsibility. Consider the life span of the animal you choose as well. Are you willing to be responsible for the pet once your children leave home?
All pets change your lifestyle.
Dogs are social animals and need the company of humans. In the wild they live in packs and the family is the dogs pack. That is why it is important to your dog to be with you, not shut outdoors or locked in another room. Bad habits can result from loneliness and boredom.
Leaving a dog exclusively outdoors will lead to behaviour issues and undermine the psychological well being of your dog. Isolation is unreasonable. To deprive a dog of human companionship and affection could be described as a form of cruelty.
You must be sure that you can cope with the changes in your lifestyle, more time with the dog in terms of exercise and behaviour training.
Cats need a stimulating internal and external environment and are free to roam within their boundaries.
As for small pets they are all to be kept indoors. An outdoor enclosure can be built for them so that they have some exposure to the outdoors. Always purchase the largest possible enclosure for your small animals.
Pets need stability and routine to feel secure. Consider your future plans and evaluate if a pet will fit in with those plans. Cats have an especially difficult time adjusting to new environments and often run away from new surroundings unless care is taken to keep them secure until they adjust to their new environment. Getting a pet should never be a spur of the moment decision. Their life is dependent on you.
A dog can be a 15 year commitment.
A cat can be a 10 to 15 year commitment,
All members of the household should be in agreement of the pet you choose.
If you are renting make sure you agree this with your landlord.
You must make sure you have enough space for the pet you are considering? Most animals don't need a lot of room but some will require more than others. Surprisingly some breeds of large dogs don't need as much space as people think while many medium breeds need lots of space. It is the outdoor exercise and play area that are important. If you are in a house you need to have a fenced yard if you get a dog.
Spaying and neutering are very important especially for cats, dogs and rabbits. Not only will it control the pet overpopulation problem it helps prevent illness and behaviour problems. At the SPCA we de-sex cats and dogs before adopting,
Cleaning up after your pet is necessary whether it be scooping poop in the park or cleaning a litter box, cage or aquarium. It is important for the health of you and the animals and the respect of your neighbours.
Grooming is also a part of having most pets. Clipping nails of dogs, cats and rabbits is a necessary part of the regular maintenance. Brushing animals with long hair is necessary to prevent tangles. This includes cats, dogs and guinea pigs. Dental care is also essential. Brushing your dog's teeth will prevent dental problems and improve his/her breath.
Different animals will require different amounts of your time. The amount of activity you do the amount of time you are home, what to do when you go away are all factors to consider when choosing a pet. You need to provide a minimum of an hour a day of active play and walks for your dog or cat. For more information, visit our care and behaviour section.
Cost are not just one off but will be incurred though the life of your pet.
Dogs costs include:
- One off adoption costs, all dogs from the SPCA are de-sexed.
- Leashes, toys and collars.
- All pets require an annual visit to the veterinarian and will incur vaccination costs.
- Potential visits due to illness or accidents and preventative care (fleas, ringworm).
- Ongoing food costs.
- Annual registration costs which is a legal requirement.
- Boarding fees may need to be paid if you need to go away and cannot take your dog with you.
- Don't forget that unsupervised puppies and even adult dogs will inadvertently destroy items such as shoes, TV remote controls, books, couches and other people items if they are bored.
- One off adoption costs
- Kittens at 10 to 12 weeks old will need vaccinating and at 5 to 6 months it will need to be spayed or neutered. Marlbroough SPCA de-sex all animals and will give you a desexing voucher so you can have the kitten de-sexed for free.
- All its life your cat will need food, sundry items such as worm pills and flea powders.
- All cats require an annual visit to the veterinarian and will incur vaccination costs.
- Boarding fees may need to be paid if you need to go away and cannot take your cat with you.