Do You Want to Adopt A Pet? Here Is What You Need to Know About Owning a Pet

Do you want to adopt a pet from your local animal shelter?  This is a wonderful idea, provided you are ready for taking on this major responsibility. 

Before you commit to a new animal, make sure that you and your family are ready to properly care for a pet.  This article is going to cover what to consider when adopting a pet.

Why Do You Want to Adopt a Pet?

When asking yourself, “Should I adopt a pet?” you need to find out what is fueling the desire to get an animal. Maybe you wanted a pet while growing up, but your parents never gave in to your pleas. Or maybe you think a pet would make a great playmate for your kids.

Whatever the reason is, you have to make sure your desire isn’t just a passing phase.  Pets aren’t for our entertainment, only to be forgotten about when we get tired of caring for them.  They require so much more.

Be honest with yourself and assess if you are willing to remain committed to an animal after the initial excitement wears off.      

How Busy is Your Current Schedule?

Pets take time.  If you are busy with various obligations, you might not have enough time to provide adequate care. 

But even if you have lots of free time, you need to give up some of that time to care for your pet.  If you will be tempted to focus more on your hobbies, adopting a pet might not be the right thing to do.

And if you spend much of your time traveling, who will care for your pet? You will need to jump through hoops to bring your furry friend with you.  If you don’t want to deal with that hassle, you will need to hire a reliable pet sitter.

Can You Afford a Pet?

This is a stumbling block for many of us who want to own a pet.  Because the truth is, caring for an animal can be pretty expensive.  According to the ASPCA, depending on the type of pet you have, the annual cost of care ranges from $227-  $2,008. 

It’s easy to see how an animal can be so pricy. After paying for your pet, you will have to take your new four-legged friend to the vet.  And vet bills can be quite costly!

The expense of vet bills alone can add up to a substantial amount over the course of your pet’s life.  But the expenses don’t stop there.

You will also need to buy pet care supplies, such as food and water bowls, grooming brushes, collars, leashes, carriers, and toys.  And don’t forget about buying pet food every week.

Plus, if you choose an animal with a high-maintenance coat, you will be making regular trips to the groomer.  This is another expense that quickly adds up. 

What Type of Pet Should You Adopt?

Some people prefer dogs while others like cats best.  Some love small pets, like rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs. 

Although personal preference should influence your decision about the type of pet to adopt, it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.  You also need to consider whether or not you can realistically care for the animal you want.

For example, let’s say you’ve always wanted a horse, but you don’t live in the right area and you can’t afford the cost of boarding.  Obviously, you shouldn’t commit to this type of animal, no matter how strongly you desire to have a horse.

When contemplating a specific type of pet, do your research on the care that pet needs.  Make sure you can meet those needs.  If you can’t, you will need to choose a different type of pet.

Now we are going to ask you three questions that will help you decide on the type of pet that is right for your situation.

Do You Have the Right Home for the Type of Pet You Want?

The space you have affects your decision.  If you have a large home with a big backyard, an active dog would have plenty of space to run around and expend energy.  But if you live in a small apartment, a cat would be a better match for your living arrangements. 

And even if you are planning on getting a small, caged pet, you will still need enough space to set up the cage and store the animal’s supplies. 

Are You Willing to Train a Pet?

Training takes a dedicated effort that requires patience and perseverance.  But not all pets require the same amount of training. 

Puppies need frequent training sessions.  Before bringing a baby canine home, make sure you are ready and willing to tackle the challenge of training.

Cats and adult dogs don’t need as much training (unless the adult dog was never trained as a puppy!).  If you aren’t thrilled by the thought of extensive training but don’t mind teaching a few house rules, a cat or trained dog might be a better option for you.

And if you don’t want to spend any time on training, a small pet, like a hamster or mouse, might be your best bet.

How Much Do You Like to Exercise?

Active pets need active owners.  If you are a couch potato, don’t get an Australian Shepherd Dog.  On the other hand, if you dream of having a faithful exercise buddy, a cat definitely isn’t the right choice for you! 

Do You Meet the Shelter’s Requirements?

Adopting a pet involves more than picking the one you like, paying the adoption fee, and walking out with your new companion.  You will need to fill out paperwork that proves you meet the shelter’s requirements. 

Get an idea of what those requirements are before taking a look at the animals available for adoption. Executive Director of Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles, Marc Peralta, says, “If you’re a renter you have to be aware of requirements but even as a homeowner, insurance doesn’t always cover larger dogs.”

In bringing up all of these considerations, we don’t want to discourage you. We just want to make you aware of what to consider when adopting a pet so that you make the right decisions. 

If you are in the right situation and are ready for the commitment, you should go ahead and adopt a pet!


Brody, J. (2018, April 02). Four Things You Need to Know As a First-Time Pet Owner. From Catering to Cats & Dogs:

Coffey, L. (n.d.). Pet Adoption 101: What to Do Before, During and After a Shelter Visit. From Clear the Shelters:

Crock, D. (2018, May 23). 10 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet. From Cheyenne Animal Shelter:


Pet Care Costs. (n.d.). From ASPCA:

Kristina Tyler is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in pet care topics.  With her life-long love of animals and passion for learning, she thoroughly enjoys researching and writing about how to care for pets.  In her spare time, she teaches Sunday School classes, creates hand drawn pictures of animals, and devours the latest books by her favorite authors.  She lives in California with her adorable kitty named Chloe and attends classes at the local community college.   


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