Congrats! You’ve decided you’re ready to share your life with an animal. Get ready for one of the most rewarding experiences on the planet. There is nothing else like having a non-human companion to share life’s ups and downs with.

When bringing a pet into your family, we cannot stress how important it is to adopt. Every day, perfectly healthy animals are euthanized to create more room in shelters and purchasing from breeders gives homeless animals less opportunity to have a home. Pet stores are possibly the worst place to get an animal, as the animals are obtained through horrible, abusive conditions. If you love animals, adopting from a rescue or animal shelter is the best option.

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Now that you’ve made the decision to adopt, you have many things to consider and prepare for. While rewarding, taking care of an animal is challenging and can be stressful at times. The more you understand about life with a pet, the less stressful it will be. Keep all these things in mind to make life great for you and your pet.

Living Space

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Consider the size of your home or apartment. It should go without saying that a Great Dane is not suitable for a studio apartment. Think about the size of your space and if you intend to stay there. You could be living in a spacious place now, but have to downsize later. Does your living space come with a backyard to play in and explore? Your living situation is a big component in your pet’s comfortability.

Daily Schedule

Your lifestyle has a huge effect on your pet. If you’re away from home often, a dog isn’t the best pet choice. With a pet, your schedule is no longer yours. Feeding time, bathroom breaks and exercise must be incorporated into your daily routine. Not only that, but you will need to keep to the schedule to accommodate your pet’s needs/

Animal’s Activity Level

Puppies and kittens are adorable, but they have a TON of energy. It can be exhausting just keeping up with them every day. if you lead a more laid-back lifestyle, opt to adopt an older animal with less energy than a puppy or kitten. If your lifestyle is active, a young animal might be a great companion to have.

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With activity levels, you also need to consider various breeds. There are many dog breeds that are known for their high energy, even after they grow out of their puppy stage. Dogs known for athletics and endurance like Cattle Dogs, Coonhounds, Huskies, and Terriers are best for high-energy people.

Financial Responsibility

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We’re just going to be upfront: vet bills are expensive. And necessary. If you can’t afford to take your pet to the vet, you can’t afford to have a pet. You need to factor in vet visits, heartworm pills, and any other necessary medicine, as well as the potential for emergency vet visits and surgeries. Medical care is only part of the financial responsibilities of having a pet, too. Your monthly grocery bill will go up from pet food and treats and toys are necessary for exercise and mental stimulation. Before you adopt your pet, sit down and go through your monthly expenses and factor pet costs into your budget.

Training

With dogs, training is a big part of the relationship between the two of you. This is where you establish trust and dominance. Not just that, but you will run into fewer issues with bad behavior and teach your pup basic commands that can be very important to their own safety. There are many ways you can learn to train your dog, from books to classes taught by animal behavior specialists. Training takes a lot of hard work and patience, but it makes for a stronger relationship between you and your dog. While there are plenty of great resources available for training, group class are a great pick as they will help give your dog socialization skills and introduce you to fellow dog lovers!

If you have gone through this list and have considered all these items, then you are ready to share your life with another creature. If not, take time to examine these tips and make sure you are truly ready to adopt. It’s important to be as prepared as possible so you can enjoy every day with your new best friend.

Lead image source: Mario Dias/Shutterstock