Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

Family taking home a dog from the animal shelter giving new home adopting the pet

Deciding to adopt a rescue animal can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. However; without careful consideration and research, it can introduce many challenging problems to an individual, a family, and even the rescued pet. Let’s dive into some questions to help you decide if bringing home a rescue pet is the right decision for your household. 

What is my motivation to adopt? 

There are many different motivations for wanting to adopt a rescue pet. Those who live alone may crave companionship. Others with families may want to introduce responsibility and exercise for the entire household. Some other reasons may include filling the home’s emptiness after pet loss or the urge to help an animal in need. Whatever your reasons are, they need to be discussed at length with the entire household. This conversation will aid in deciding what type of animal to look for, and even if adoption is the right fit. 

What will the financial obligation be? 

Adopting an animal is a cheaper option than purchasing from a breeder or pet store, although much of the long term financial responsibility will ultimately be the same. Some responsibilities to consider are below: 

Initial Supplies

  • There are several items needed to welcome your rescued pet into the home. Please refer to our Checklist for Adopting a Cat(link) and Checklist for Adopting a Dog(link) for further information regarding what to already have in the home. 

Vet Costs

  • Puppies and kittens will require several vaccinations. It will also need to be spayed/neutered. 
  • Adult dogs and cats require annual vet visits. 
  • Most pets will inevitably have an accident that will require an emergency vet trip. Companies like pumpkin, Spot Pet Insurance, and Petplan (link) offer pet insurance to help offset some of the general costs and offer peace of mind in case of emergencies.

General Upkeep

  • Food – larger animals will require more food than their smaller counterparts
  • Cat litter
  • Scratching posts
  • Toys for engagement
  • Treats
  • Medications – Some animals are surrendered due to medical conditions prior owners couldn’t manage, and even healthy animals will need medicines to keep them well. 
  • Extra pet fees and higher security deposits for those who rent.
  • Daycare, boarding houses, or sitters for when you are traveling.


  • Puppy training can be costly and even if you opt out of formal classes, damages caused to your home can begin to add up.
  • Adult dog training may be required to manage behavioral issues that were not addressed in prior ownership.

What kind of time will be required for the rescue pet? 

Before deciding to adopt, take a deep dive in what daily life looks like in your household. Consider the schedules of each adult and child present and how routine daily life is. This is when you will want to establish who the primary caretaker of the animal will be. Take into account daily schedules. Who works longer hours? Is someone available to come home to tend to your pet during their lunch break? Is travel required for your job? Also account for your children’s schedules. Sports practices, school events, doctor’s appointments, and homework are all occurrences that can result in a pet being lost in the hustle and bustle. After giving this thought you may have a clearer idea of what kind of pet personality would fit best in your household. 

Although cats require much less one on one interaction, it’s usually best to carve out at least 30-45 minutes a day of active play. Some cats may require more time depending on personality type, and this can greatly affect the general behavior of your cat. Obviously dogs require much more daily attention. Do your research on different breeds and their energy levels before deciding on any one particular dog. Most shelters have a write up on the dog’s personality, and asking them questions about what daily life looks like for the dog is a good idea. 

Is my household right for a rescue pet? 

What is your living arrangement? Do you have a fenced  yard? And if not, is there a dog park nearby? If not, finding a rescue dog with lower energy levels may be the best choice. Do you rent? Always check with your landlord for approval and for possible breed restrictions prior to adopting a pet. The worst time to find out it isn’t allowed if after the adoption process is complete. 

Give thought to any children or elderly within your home. Smaller dogs generally do not do well with small children, as sometimes they are quicker to snip at children who lack understanding in how to treat a pet. Larger dogs may bump into any elderly causing unintentional injury. Also, think about other pets in the home and if they will be welcoming to another pet in their home. An at home trial is always encouraged to ensure all family members and the rescue pet will be copacetic in the home together. This an extremely important step of the adoption process that should not be ignored.  

Ultimately, pet adoption can be a wonderful exercise of compassion for a household. Focusing on researching and preparation in your decision making process will ensure a smooth transition for both your family and the rescue pet, and foster the bonds needed to guarantee the rescue pet remains in your home happy and healthy for the rest of its life. 

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