Should I adopt a pet?

Author picture Jessica  - updated: 19/05/2020

Is it a good idea to adopt a pet?

Adopting a pet seems like a great idea: pets bring us joy, and it feels great rehoming an animal in need. But before you adopt a pet, consider if you are in it for the longterm.

Responsible pet ownership requires patience, time and money, so weigh this up before you dive in and adopt a pet.

Should I adopt a pet during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown?

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, there has been a massive increase in pet adoption from shelters and rescue organisations, attributed to more people working from home and staying indoors. Many people crave the comfort and companionship of a cat or dog, and want a furry friend to distract from the stress of what is happening.

This is great on one hand: many animals now have permanent homes. But it raises some concerns, as these adopted pets will need to be cared for well beyond the lockdown and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Why is adopting a pet such a big deal?

Pet ownership has changed a lot in the past decades. Though most of us have always loved pets, society has moved away from the old view of a dog or cat as a cute possession that needs feeding and the occasional vet visit.

Instead, animals are increasingly understood to be sentient beings that have a right to real love, comfort and care.

As such, pets are now often described as members of the family (with terms like ‘furkid’, ‘furbaby’ and ‘pet parent’ often used). It just isn’t responsible to leave a family member alone all day while you go to work, which might not seem a likely scenario now, but coronavirus restrictions won’t last forever. And you need to think ahead to this before adopting.

Why shouldn’t I adopt a pet?

Dogs and cats need far more than the basics of feeding, watering and medical care.

They need you to provide a balanced diet, training, socialisation and stimulation. They also need exercise, medical care, a clean environment, love and regular attention. Adopting a pet costs money. Think of food, bedding, toys, grooming, vet visits, medication and pet sitting when you go on holidays or back to work. Adopting a pet changes your lifestyle.

  • If you have to move house or need to apply for a rental property, you will need to factor your pet into where you live. This may narrow down your options.
  • If you have or are planning on kids, you need to consider their safety around your pet and vice versa.
  • Having a night out and want to stay at a friend's place? This can no longer be a last-minute decision, as you will have to plan ahead for a pet sitter.

You need to be there for your pet every day. Even if you are tired, busy or not in the mood. But this is also one of the great things about owning a pet: they will indeed get you up and about, which can encourage a healthy daily routine. It just depends on if you feel ready for this.

If you think you can’t provide all of this for the lifespan of a pet, then please reconsider before you adopt a pet. Remember that cats and dogs often live beyond 15 years!

You shouldn't adopt a cat or dog if you can't provide proper care

What is fostering a pet?

Fostering means that a foster carer looks after the pet until they go to a forever home. 

Shelters, pounds and foster organisations might not always have the space or facilities to look after all of their pets. This is where their network of foster carers can really help. Likewise, some pets can’t stay in shelters because they are very young, recovering from injuries or have other special needs.

If you love animals and want to help them, now is a good time to foster a pet. This will also let you assess if you are ready to care for a pet long term.

And if you fall in love with your foster pet, you might even consider giving them a permanent home! You might also consider donating some money to an animal welfare or foster organisation if this is within your means. They always need our support and you will feel great knowing you contributed to a worthy cause.

Are you looking to adopt a pet right now? We’d love to hear all about it! How did you make the decision to adopt a pet? Let us know: just tag us on Instagram using #pawshakeie or visit our channels below:

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