Adopting a pet

Read our guide on what to consider when adopting a pet

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Getting a new pet is exciting and can be a very rewarding experience. However, it isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly and there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration.

Cat wandering through the grass

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Before adopting a rescue dog or cat, do your research and think about the reasons you want a pet and whether you will be able to give it your time, care and attention. 

Think about your lifestyle and how much time you have on your hands. Cats are very independent animals that will be quite happy to wander around outside or in if you are out at work all day.

Dogs, on the other hand need a lot more attention and will require walks and exercise every day – could you fit this into your daily routine?

Then there will be the basics to think about – what breed do you want, do you want your pet to be outdoor or indoor, do you want male or female, young or old? 

You will also need to think about whether you would have someone available to look after your pet if you went on holiday.

Before adopting a rescue dog or cat, do your research and think about the reasons you want a pet and whether you will be able to give it your time, care and attention.

Check-list when adopting a rescue dog or cat

• Environment

You will need to make sure your dog or cat has a comfortable, cosy bed and somewhere quiet they can go to get used to their home when they first arrive.

Remember that rescue dogs and cats may have had previously traumatic experiences so you will have to be prepared to give them an environment in which they feel comfortable and safe.

There will be other things to think about before choosing your dog. Obviously if you have children choosing a dog that is good around them will be a top priority. Similarly, if you frequently have visitors you will have to find a dog that is sociable and won’t be distressed in busy situations.

And do you have any other pets? If so you would have to make sure your new addition would not cause them any distress, or vice versa.

Cats are very clean animals and you will need to train them (if they have not already been trained) to use a litter tray. These can either be open or in a closed over box with an opening for them to enter and exit. There are different varieties of litter so find one that works for you. You may also want to invest in a pet-safe disinfectant and litter freshener. 

• Food

There are various brands of cat and dog food but it is a good idea to get a reputable, well known one.  It can be a bit of a minefield deciding which type to go for, for example cat food gives you options of food for kittens, food for indoor cats, and food for overweight cats… the list goes on. The centre where you adopt your pet from should be able to give you information on any special dietary needs.

• Vaccinations

Before you adopt your pet you will need to see if it requires any outstanding vaccinations. Speak to your vet if you are unsure which vaccinations are essential and what age they will need to have them. 

It’s also important that you regularly treat your cat or dog for fleas and also for worms. There are a variety of treatments on the market so do your research and find the best one for you. 

• Toys

It’s important your pet is able to run about and play so make sure you get toys for them to play with. For cats, a scratching post is vital to stop your chairs and soft furnishings getting damaged – although they may not totally escape!

Also ensure you have grooming products for your animal to help keep their fur in good condition. 

• Neutering

You will need to get your male cat/dog neutered unless you are planning on breeding them. Your vet will be able to advise on the best age to get this done.

• Micro-chipping

While not essential, it’s advisable to get your dog or cat micro-chipped to help identify them if they were to be lost and safely returned to you. 

• Insurance

If your pet were to fall ill, it would be heart-breaking if you were unable to pay the vet fees, which can run into thousands of pounds.

Therefore it’s important to make sure you take out a pet insurance policy that will cover this eventuality.

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