How to Find the Right Pet For You
One of the most exciting days of our lives is bringing home a new furry companion to join our family. Whether you’re more of a cat person or a dog person, you can’t deny that pets make our lives infinitely better – they provide us with unconditional love, lots of laughs, and a feeling of stability in our homes.
Every cat and dog deserves a warm, loving, and happy home in which to spend their lives. But, does that mean that every cat and dog is perfect for coming into our care? Of course not. The process of choosing a pet can be hard, and quite honestly, it should be – after all, you’re making a commitment to an animal for life, so you don’t want to rush through the process of choosing the right fit, both for your sake and theirs.
Is There Such a Thing as the Perfect Pet?
Let’s get one thing straight – all cats and dogs – and yes, even the ones that are aggressive, to an extent – deserve a safe and loving home. But, as much as they deserve a safe and loving home, they also deserve an owner and family that’s equipped to take care of all of their needs, including more advanced needs pertaining to health, behavior, etc.
Basically, the point is that there’s more to picking out a pet than finding the cutest one possible. Like we said, it’s a lifelong commitment, and so more thought needs to go into the process of choosing one than simply going to the pet store and picking out the first adorable kitten or puppy that you find.
So, is there such a thing as the perfect pet? Instead of answering that question, we should ask, which pet is perfect for you? Is it a pet who has a mellower personality, to suit your lowkey lifestyle? Is it a playful dog who will keep your kids entertained for hours? While these questions are helpful, there are more specific things to consider, and we’re going to cover all of them.
Cats vs. Dogs
Of course, the first thing to consider is the kind of pet – in other words, are you more of a feline or canine type of person? Of course, it goes beyond personal preference. For instance, you need to consider potential allergies within your family, and you also need to consider if your space is friendly to the species. A big dog, for example, might not do great in a small apartment.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
If you’re able to, we encourage you to consider adopting a rescue as opposed to shopping from a breeder. Millions of animals are born in the streets each year who deserve loving homes, and they cost far less money than buying from a breeder. Consider different shelters in your area, and even do a little bit of research to find out what their policies are for beginning the adoption process.
It’s true, the age of a pet matters a lot more than you may think. The needs of a senior dog will be dramatically different from those of a puppy, for example, and the same can be said about their behavior. Puppies and kittens are known for having loads and loads of energy, and require lots of supervision and stimulation to keep them satisfied, and not prone to engaging in more destructive behaviors around your house. Neo-natal kittens and puppies may be up for adoption, but require lots of advanced care round the clock that you may or may not be able to provide.
Adult cats and dogs are obviously more overlooked in adoption environments, but come with the advantage of being more independent, and hopefully already being litter-trained/house-trained. An adult animal’s personality is less likely to be modified through their environment than a puppy or kitten, so keep that in mind.
Finally, senior pets make for loving companions, and shouldn’t be overlooked just because of their age. Many senior pets can live for many years under your care, but naturally, you have to be more on top of taking them to the vet and addressing any health-related needs that they may have. Senior pets are also likely to be mellower in their behavior, which may be an advantage if you don’t have the ability to provide constant stimulation to a pet.
Whether or Not You Have Other Pets
The process of finding the “perfect pet” matters a whole lot more if you already have at least one furry friend living under your roof. That’s because you’re going to need to make sure that the pet you’re bringing in will generally get along with your current one. This is where age, species, breed, and demeanor can all matter a lot, as well as any potential health issues that could mean even more special care is required.
The cliché that dogs get along with one another better than cats get along with one another is not necessarily fair. Dogs are more social with one another by nature, but cats can have peaceful relationships with one another if you go about introducing them to each other in the right manner. Besides that, cats and dogs can make for great companions with one another, so don’t think that you can’t get a cat if you have a dog, or vice versa.
Consider your current pet’s needs when choosing the right pet to get. A senior pet may get irritated easily by a kitten or puppy, who will inevitably want to play with their new big sibling constantly. Likewise, if you already have a pet who’s on the more hyperactive side, you may want to choose a pet with a mellower personality, for the sake of the peace of your home.
Whether or Not You Have Children
You also need to consider whether or not you have children, and how that may influence the pet that’s right for your family. A lot of shelters will tell you whether or not a pet is good around children right in the pet’s bio, as this can be extremely important. Some pets are more prone to aggression than others, and a child’s higher energy levels may be overstimulating to their nervous system. At the same time, a pet that’s too mellow may not be as fun for kids to look after. If you visit a potential pet candidate before adoption, consider bringing your children with you.
Your Overall Schedule
Your day-to-day schedule can have a lot to do with how you should go about choosing a pet. For example, a pet with advanced health-related needs, who needs more intensive daily care, may not be the best choice for someone who spends long days at the office. Every animal has a different level of attachment to humans. A pet who has a more independent demeanor works well with an owner who has a busier schedule, so that’s something that you want to consider, so that you don’t end up with a cat or dog who isn’t getting the attention that they need to thrive.
Your Social Life
Similarly to above, your social life can determine a lot about the pet you should get. For instance, a pet who is petrified of strangers won’t love a house that’s always filled with parties of loud people. Meanwhile, a dog or cat that’s super social may enjoy a livelier environment with lots of stimulation from houseguests.
Where you’re located can make a difference in the pet you should get, more when it comes to dogs. Certain dog breeds really thrive when they have a decent-sized yard to run around in, so a small apartment in the middle of an urban area may mean that they aren’t getting their needs met.
Whether or Not You’re a First-Time Pet Owner
A first-time pet owner may need to make more careful choices than a person who is experienced with animals. A pet who has fewer special needs may be the best route, as you may not have enough animal experience to feel confident catering to them on the level required for, say, a senior pet who has arthritis, and requires a lot more on-demand care.
Their Overall Health
Please, for your sake and the sake of a potential pet, get their medical records before adopting. Some pets, for instance, may have certain diseases or parasites that must be dealt with before they can enter your home, as they may spread these ailments to other pets in the house. Besides that, you should know ahead of time if a pet has a medical condition that may require specialized care, expensive vet bills, or time and effort which you may or may not have.
What is the Actual Process of Picking Out a Pet?
When the time comes to start the process of adopting a pet, and after you’ve taken into account the checklist above, it’s time to go through the proper steps for a successful transition into your care and love.
#1: Finding the Right Source
First off, who you’re adopting a pet from is extremely important. We’ve all seen puppies and kittens at garage sales, or some person on social media in our local area who came across a stray, and hopes to get them into a home. These pets, who aren’t coming from a reputable adoption center, deserve just as much love, but keep in mind that they require a vet visit before you bring them into your home, as they have yet to be checked out, and will probably require neutering/spaying as early as is possible.
An adoption center, like a local shelter, will often have paid for initial medical bills, and will likely have ensured that all pets have been fixed before they’re adopted out, which is a big plus. And, as you probably know, these centers are often overfilled, and the sooner one pet can be adopted out, the sooner a new pet can be taken off of the streets and brought into professional care.
Keep in mind that any legitimate adoption center will require that you fill out an applicant form, which will ask some basic questions to ensure that you are eligible to be a pet owner. Often, you can do this online.
#2: Don’t Settle for the First Cute Pet You See
Yes, we all know that the cutest kitten or puppy tugs at our heartstrings the most. But, don’t get blinded by looks alone – consider all of the things on the checklist above, to make sure that you’re actually adopting a pet that’s compatible with your lifestyle and needs, and that you’re adopting a pet who you can provide for so that they can truly thrive.
#3: Spending Time with Them
Like we said earlier, a lot of pet adoption centers/pet foster homes allow you to spend some time with the pet before handing over the adoption fee. This way, you can get a feel for their temperament prior to adoption, to make sure that it’s a right fit. Take advantage of this opportunity, as it is your only chance to be up close and personal with the pet before signing on to being their caretaker for life.
#4: Checking Their Records
Any legit shelter will have the pet’s medical records ready to go, which should be given, in full, to you at the time of adoption, as you may need them in the future. These medical records will also tell you everything you need to know about the pet’s health. Keep in mind that some issues may arise after their last vet visit – in other words, if you bring a new pet home and discover that there is some kind of issue that needs medical attention, that may not be the fault of the adoption center.
#5: Consulting the Whole Family
Before adopting a pet, please make sure to discuss it at length with your entire family. Bringing home a pet impulsively is never a good idea, as this can backfire, if a member of your household is unable to provide them with care, or cohabitate with them, for whatever reason. Again, adopting a pet is a commitment that must be taken seriously. On a similar note, if you’re adopting a pet and hoping that your children will care for it, please make sure that your children can, actually, commit a part of their daily lives to caring for the pet, for many years to come.
#6: Bringing Your New Pet Home
Once you’ve filled out the adoption paperwork and forked over the adoption fee, there are some things that you need to do to ensure that the new pet is going to thrive in their new environment.
#7: Have Their Supplies Ready to Go
If you’re going to be bringing a newly adopted pet home, you want to make sure that everything they need is ready to go right off the bat. At the bare minimum, you’ll need food, a food bowl, a water bowl, a brush/comb, a bed, and some toys. If you have a cat, you’ll need a litter box, litter, and a scooper as well. Ideally, you should have some interactive toys to keep them occupied with as well for when you’re not home.
Please consider having all of these items ahead of time, so that your pet can immediately get used to their new daily routine, and so that you’ll be able to provide them with all that’s required to take care of their needs. You can buy plenty of pet supplies online or in a store in your area.
Speaking of supplies, there’s a side note we want to make if you’re adopting a cat. It’s essential that you keep the litter box in the same place, instead of moving it around early on. Otherwise, you may confuse the cat, who will end up having “accidents” throughout the house. If you live in a two-story house, it’s actually ideal to have a litter box on both floors.
#8: Take Some Time Off for Bonding
Plan ahead for adoption day, by clearing your schedule. If you can’t take off work, please consider having the pet arrive Friday night or Saturday morning, so that you can get in 2 full days of one-on-one time, both for their sake and for yours. Your pet will likely spend the first couple of days laying low, and to an extent, you should expect them to hide, not want to play, and eat less than what’s considered normal. But, leaving a brand new pet home alone while you’re working can be disastrous, since they don’t know your house rules, and may feel insecure, which can lead to things like scratching up furniture, eliminating in inappropriate places, and generally causing chaos.
Similarly, consider not having friends and family over to meet the new pet for the first week. This can confuse them, as they’re still trying to get acquainted with your household. Having guests over can overstimulate them when they’re likely to already feel vulnerable.
#9: Consider Bringing CBD into Their Routines
Some pets can feel pretty uneasy when they’re coming into a new home, with unfamiliar smells, sounds, and sights. And, the more scared they are, the less bonding time you’ll be able to enjoy, and the more likely they are to engage in unwanted behaviors. One thing that might help is some CBD.
Pets’ nervous systems use CBD in the same way that ours do – allowing the cannabinoid to attach to cannabinoid receptors which control stress response and mood. Studies actually show that when dogs were administered CBD, they had less of a response to loud noises, which tells us that pets can, indeed, feel calmer when CBD is given to them regularly. At Chill Paws, we offer lab-tested, pet-friendly, and all-natural CBD oils, treats, and more, which are designed specifically to help your furry friend feel at ease as much as possible.
#10: Take Your Time Getting Them Acquainted
Give your new pet some time to get settled – it can take a couple of weeks to a few months before their true personality comes out. Every pet is different, and some are naturally faster to adapt to new environments than others.
More importantly, be extremely mindful of how you introduce them to your current pet, if you have one. There are lots of instructional videos online about how to go about this process properly, which all involve first separating your pets into different rooms, and allowing them to familiarize themselves with each other’s smells. The bottom line is that you don’t want to, say, throw your two cats into the same room as one another and hope for the best. Pets are territorial in nature, and a bad first impression can cause problems for years. It’s worth it to take your time and introduce them to one another gradually, as this will greatly better the chances of your pets becoming best friends for life.
#11: Be Consistent with Rules
It’s very important that you establish house rules on day one. A pet from another environment may not know any better than to scratch your furniture, or jump onto the dinner table to sample some of your roast chicken. Follow the rules of positive reinforcement, and make sure that they know when something that they’re doing isn’t tolerated in your household. The sooner and more consistent you establish these rules, the better.
Your New Furry Best Friend is Waiting for You!
Choosing a pet requires a lot of thought and consideration, since the reality is, each cat and dog is unique, and has their own needs and personality. But, taking your time with the process will pay off, because in return for your efforts, you’ll end up with a best friend for life.
We encourage you to follow all of these tips to make sure that you’re choosing an animal that will be eternally happy in your care. At Chill Paws, we’re here to support them throughout their lives with our top-quality CBD-infused formulas for pets.