Choosing to adopt a new animal best friend instead of buying from a breeder or pet store is a wonderful decision. Especially when 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized in one year in order to make room in shelters. OK, just to make sure we’re all on the same page:

That’s 2.7 million healthy dogs and cats per year.

That’s why adopting pets is so important. Every time someone adopts, it opens up room for more animals at shelters and cuts down the amount of animals euthanized every year. We thank you for this kind action, and the animals thank you, too.

So, we congratulate you on making the decision to adopt a pet, there are some things you should take into consideration before you bring a new little fuzzy friend home. While you’ve gotten the basics of where you want to get your pet from, there are still plenty of things to know when adopting a new family member.

1. Consider the Amount of Time You Have to Give

Certain pets require more attention than others. Cats are very independent, while dogs need lots of interaction and exercise. The amount of time you have to give is a good indication of what kind of pet you should get. Cats have bigger needs than bunnies, while dogs have bigger needs than cats, and so on. Take a look at your schedule and think about what is fair for the animal and how much time per day you can devote to them.

2. Check Your Finances

Pets cost money. You will not only need food, but regular vet visits can take a chunk out of your wallet. Make sure you have room in your budget for a pet before adopting. If you don’t think you can afford regular vet visits, maybe it is not quite time to adopt.

3. Make Sure You Have the Supplies You Need

You won’t know what you need for your pet until you actually need them. The best idea is to do your research and grab what you need before adopting your new pet. Obviously, what you need will depend on what type of animal you plan on adopting. Of course, all animals need food, so make sure your house is stocked. Dogs and cats will need a bed of some sort to sleep on. Toys are important to keep your pet stimulated and give them something of their own. If you plan to adopt a dog, purchase small treats to use as rewards as you start your training.

4. Puppy/Kitten Proof Your House

Your house is a whole new world for your buddy and they are going to be curious about their surroundings. Turn your back and your couch could be scratched or chewed to bits. Make sure to put potentially dangerous items out of reach before bringing them home, and  be sure to supervise your new pet until they start to get the hang of their new lifestyle.

5. Give Them Their Own Space

When you’re away, you’ll need to provide a place for your pet that is not only their own, but one that will keep them out of trouble or danger while you are gone. For dogs, this could be a crate with an old clothing item in it so they have your smell nearby. For cats, it could be a bathroom, laundry room, mud room or some type of room that has their litter box, toys, food and water in it, as well as very limited items for them to get into.

6. Be Patient

Think about what your new pet has been through before judging their behavior – especially when looking at pets in a shelter. Many pets that go through shelters have been abused and are only just learning to trust humans again. Others have been in shelters so long, they are afraid of their new surroundings. Don’t overlook an animal just because they don’t connect with you right away. They need time to warm up to a new face and will also need some time to adjust to a new home. Sadly, many people surrender their newly adopted pets for this reason, so being patient with newly adopted animals is key. Once they do come around, you will know and it will all be more than worth it.

Image source: Nicolas Suzor/Flickr