Adding a new family member to the household is a beautiful but big decision.
It's important to remember that adopting a pet should never be on impulse.
Careful research and planning is essential.
Being a responsible pet owner means more than just providing food, water and shelter.
If you are thinking about adopting a pet, you should seriously consider the following points:
Animals are companions rather than entertainment
They are a commitment for the lifetime of the pet and should not be discarded 'once the novelty wears off'. Animals have emotions and form a strong bond with their human companions. Most dogs live between 10 -15 years and some cats up to 20 years. During their lifetime, consider the needs of your pet each time you plan to take a holiday away from home and each time you move house.
The small adoption fee is only the first of many costs
Your pet will need annual vaccinations against common diseases, heartworm prevention treatment, regular intestinal worming, flea treatment and feeding, as well as unexpected emergency veterinary care. There is also the cost of leads, collars, bowls, training and - for the wise pet owner - health insurance. It is estimated that a dog can easily cost up to $1,500 per year and a cat up to $1,000.
Choose the right pet for you
Many animals are surrendered because their owner simply chose the wrong pet for their lifestyle and home. Problems such as allergies and residence restrictions should be investigated before adoption. Breeds needing a lot of exercise may be unsuitable for people who work long hours or they may be too active for small children, while some breeds find it difficult to tolerate other animals or children.
Give your pet a head start with training
Basic training helps owners communicate better with their pets and strengthens the bond between the two. Training in social skills and appropriate behaviour, such as that offered by animal trainers based in the Northern Territory, can also help avoid problem behaviours that lead to pet dumping. These behavioural difficulties may include excessive barking and destructive behaviour in dogs.
Consult all family members before adopting a pet
Purchasing a pet as a 'surprise' is not a good idea. Many people purchase animals without consulting other members of their household, or even do so directly against their wishes, assuming 'once they see him/her, they'll love him/her.' Unfortunately, in some instances, the animal ends up back where they started, so make sure everyone is one board.
There are many animals at RSPCA Darwin waiting to find their furever homes. So if you think introducing a pet to your family is right for you, then check out: