Choosing a New Best Friend
We partner with pets and their parents for life at Tampa Bay Vets, so we see a lot of scenarios play out. While people sometimes need to rehome their pets for unavoidable reasons, a little foresight can often prevent this unnecessary heartache. According to the American Humane Society, one in ten pets adopted from a shelter were no longer in the home six months later.
When adopting a new pet, you can expect they will need more time to adjust in the beginning. Whether they are real or perceived, some top reasons that pets are rehomed include:
- Behavioral issues
- Lifestyle differences
- Pet costs
Just like humans, pets sometimes have a hard time adjusting to life’s expectations of them. Factors that can affect this are genetic disposition, temperament, previous life experiences, medical conditions, and/or unmet needs. Top reported behavioral issues with new pets include barking, food aggression, or destruction of property.
For factors outside of your control, new pets may need a lot of initial hands-on training to help them be a more successful member of the family. In some situations, a professional trainer may be necessary.
When our heart strings are being pulled by the irresistible cuteness of a new pet, it can be difficult to be objective. Although your spirits may be compatible, sometimes lifestyles aren’t!
Try to honestly assess the time you can dedicate to a pet. If you are frequently gone for long stretches, you may want to consider a pocket pet, bird, or fish. Some cats are even known to prefer minimal human affection, so you may find a match made in heaven with an aloof feline!
Another consideration is how much activity your pet will need. Some dogs are calm and content to sit at your feet all day, while others can be boisterous. You’ll want to be realistic about what you can regularly commit to, in terms of exercise and fresh air. Some breeds are more prone to being hyper, nervous, or overweight, so adequate exercise is critical for their overall well being.
When you find a candidate, think of the needs your pet will have for food, housing, socialization, exercise, grooming and veterinary care, and make sure you can afford and are willing and able to provide them. Also, who will care for your pet in your absence? Consider not just short-term absences, but also what might happen if your pet outlives you, and plan accordingly for your pet’s care.
Some pets have pre-existing medical issues, and many breeds are predisposed to certain diseases or conditions. These considerations will help you determine if you can truly meet this adorable deserving pet’s needs before you welcome them into your family.
Whether they have scales, feathers, or fur, all pets need preventative wellness care to ensure that they live a long healthy life in comfort. Be sure to ask about our new Healthy Pet Plan, which breaks up the charges for routine preventative care into affordable monthly payments. Other financial tools we offer include Trupanion pet insurance (for the unexpected illnesses), and lines of credit through CareCredit and ScratchPay.
Related info: Lifetime of Care Study
The Perfect Pet for You
As mentioned, finding your new best friend is a decision that deserves a lot of thought and planning. Once you’ve determined what your strengths and limitations are, then begin the search. This will help you avoid an impulsive decision and stay within the guidelines you’ve set for yourself.
Our family of Tampa Bay Animal Hospitals advocate for adopting a new pet through reputable rescues when possible! Here are a few local rescues we’ve supported in the past and recommend you check out in your search for the perfect pet (perfect for you!)