Adopting a puppy or kitten is a big responsibility, not to be taken lightly. Your pet will likely live for at least 10 years so before taking him or her into your home, consider carefully whether your current lifestyle, and your future lifestyle, can cope.
Other important considerations before adopting include:
- The breed of the dog or cat you choose. Some breeds require more attention, and some are pre-disposed to certain diseases so veterinary visits will be necessary.
- The long-term cost implications. The first year of a kitten or puppy’s life is one of the most expensive as you’ll need to stock up on its bedding, accessories, food etc and it will need several vaccinations, microchipping, sterilisation etc. Old age can also be costly as your dog or cat develops diseases like arthritis or diabetes associated with ageing.
- Daily care includes picking up poop, cleaning out a litter tray, training, establishing a routine and exercise. Are you, or is someone in your home, willing to take this on full time and commit to doing it responsibly?
- Consider how well your new pet fit into your home? Do you already have other pets in the house? Will they get on with each other, and are you committed to teaching them to be pals? Is your home big enough to accommodate a large dog? Do you have the time to exercise your dog and play with your cat?
- Have you thought about immigrating in the near future? Taking a dog or cat to a foreign country can be expensive, and animal shelters are bursting at the seams with unwanted pets so make sure you can commit to your pet for his/her lifetime.
If you’ve considered all of these variables, here’s a handy checklist compiled by Kerryn Sharpe at Country Animal Clinic for you to run through before adopting.
Adopting a puppy or kitten: checklist
|1. Premium puppy food (Hills Healthy development puppy small, medium or large breed). Make sure to transition slowly if the puppy has been on different food.||Premium Kitten food (Hills Healthy development Kitten) Make sure to transition slowly if the kitten has been on a different food.|
|2. Crate for containment – Puppies need a den with all their own smells in it to feel safe during travel on a plane or to be taken to the vet. This is a short-term confinement area for them.||Cat carrier – Comfortable and well ventilated for travelling in the car or to the vet.|
|3. Food and water bowls – Non tip or slip||Food and water bowls – Non tip or slip|
|4. Collar and leash – to train your puppy to walk on it as soon as possible. Collar must be fitted around the neck with two fingers space between the collar and neck. Make sure to get a “break away” to avoid your puppy being hooked on anything for a long period of time. Rogz makes these.||Collar with a tag – to get your cat used to wearing one and for identification purposes|
|5. Dog bed||Cat lead and harness – if you want to train your kitty to walk on a leash.|
|6. Treats for training purposes||Cat treats – for basic training|
|7. Grooming supplies – Nail clippers, puppy shampoo, grooming brush, toothpaste and a toothbrush to get them used to teeth being brushed.||Bedding – warm, secure and comfortable (Cat igloo)|
|8. Toys – Teething chew toys, interactive food dispensing toys so puppy is entertained while you are out. No hooves, bones or ropes while you are not around, this is a choking hazard for puppy.||Litter tray, litter scoop and cat litter – you might have to try a few different litters to see what your cat prefers, most of them don’t mind which one they use. Fine litter is a good start for kittens as it is soft on their paws.|
|9. Tick and flea product – Revolution puppy||Cat toys – Feathers, crunchy filled toys, catnip filled toys, laser pointers etc, to keep your kitten entertained.|
|10. Puppy pads for house training||Scratch post – to spare furniture in the future|
|11. Poop bags and holder for when taking your puppy for walks||Good quality enzymatic cleaners with no ammonia. This helps with house training and spraying incidents. Cats can develop marking behaviours very quickly so proper cleaning products are a must.|
|12. Good quality odour-removing cleaning products to prevent accidents in the same areas.||Grooming supplies – Flea comb, brush for the type of fur they have, waterless shampoo for cats and a nail clipper.|
|13. Make sure your puppy has been dewormed and had the necessary vaccinations before taking him/her home.
14. Ensure you get the original vaccination card from the breeder or welfare organization.
|Tick and flea product – Revolution for kittens|
|15. Pet insurance: do your research. Take a look at Medipet, Petsure, Dotsure, Paw Paw.||Toothbrush and toothpaste to get your kitten used to having its teeth brushed.|
|16. Research puppy schools||Feliway cat spray – to create a relaxed and calm environment for your kitten. They’re easily stressed in a new environment.|
|17. Your veterinarian’s number on hand.||Make sure your kitten has been dewormed and had the necessary vaccinations before taking him/her home. Get the original vaccination card from the breeder or welfare organisation.|
|18. Microchip your puppy and attach an identification tag to its collar.||Pet insurance: do your research. Take a look at Medipet, Petsure, Dotsure, Paw Paw.|
|Microchip your kitten and attach an identification tag to its collar|
|Strongly consider buying/adopting two kittens instead of one to keep each other company.|
|Have your veterinarian’s number on hand.|
|Remember: It is cheaper to prevent disease than to treat it, so make sure your puppy or kitten has all their vaccinations.|