It's just about springtime, and with it comes baby animals. All the cute little baby animals with their little wet noses and big eyes begging you to take them home. And then there are your children with their sad little faces, also begging you to take that cuddly puppy, kitten, or bunny.
If you decide to bring home an animal, keep in mind that each year 5-7 million pets are abandoned either because they become an inconvenience or too much work. If you're going to make an animal a part of your family this spring, make sure you are prepared.
1. Spay or Neuter
People who don't spay or neuter their pets end up with more pets, and those little babies are at a high risk for abandonment and death. Spaying and neutering is the best thing you can do to ensure that fewer animals are put to sleep because no one wanted them.
Your puppy and kitten aren't going to train themselves. If you don't do it, you are the one at fault when Fido pees on your carpet. Make sure to properly train your pets to avoid accidents that will frustrate you and your pet. If your pet has frequent accidents, ruins your belongings, or barks and runs away constantly, you'll be more likely to give your pet to a shelter. Just as you are responsible for your young child's behavior, you are responsible for your pet's behavior too.
3. Decide Who Is Responsible
Before getting your new addition, have a family meeting about who will be responsible for what. Every family member can take part in actively caring for an animal. Young kids can help with feeding, older children can be responsbile for taking dogs out for a walk, and you can handle the vet appointments. It's a team effort and everyone must be on board and willing.
4. Be Pro-Active With Pet Care
Certain things trigger unwanted behavior from your pets. If you don't cut your cat's nails, she'll probably shred your furniture. If you don't scoop the litter box, she'll probably pee outside of it. If you don't take the dog for a walk, he will have an accident in your house. To avoid having fur on everything, brush them properly with a product like the Furminator, recently featured on Lifetime Television's The Balancing Act. I tested it myself, and it made a huge difference in the amount of fur my cats shed. You know what needs to be done — so do it. It's the best way to avoid any mishaps.
5. Know Your Budget
Pets are expensive. Make sure you know what you are getting into financially. Sit down with a calculator and figure it out. A small dog will cost $1300 for the first year alone. If it isn't in your budget, it isn't in your budget. Better to know that now than when you're faced with a $500 vet bill and contemplating getting rid of your beloved Fido.
6. Give Them Love
Animals need a lot of attention. Without proper love and care, your pet will become depressed, and just like depressed humans act out, so do depressed animals. Dogs will destroy your home and cats will pee all over. Make sure to pet them, walk them, and cuddle them to ensure they are happy and healthy.
Pets are a big responsibility. They take commitment, time, and caring. Don't expect your children to be on top of caring for your pet even if they swear they will. After all, they're kids. Know what you're getting into when adopting a pet so that that dog won't be put to sleep and your kids won't be devastated when your cat has to go to a new home.
I received a Furminator to try out on my pets. My opinions here are my own, though I can't speak for my cats.