Are you thinking of adding a new four-legged friend to your home?

There are some questions you should ask yourself before committing to a new pet.  Adopting a Pet should be a decision made by the whole family.  If you have other pets, will that be an issue?
If you have cats, for example, make sure your new dog will be cat friendly.   Don’t leave them alone until you are absolutely sure they are OK together.

Do you have young children?  Make sure your new pet is tolerant toward children and before adopting a pet, teach children to respect animals, and to behave around pets, teach kids that animals are not stuffed toys!

What is your current lifestyle – how many hours are you away from home each day – week?  Don’t adopt that cute border collie puppy if you are out at work 8 hours a day.  Neither you nor the animal will be happy after the novelty wears off – and it will, very quickly!

To assist you to find information on the most compatible dog breeds for your lifestyle, Dogtime has a match-up quiz that may assist your decision.   The BC SPCA has a page on how to find a good breeder and the Canadian Kennel Club has an easy-to-use searchable database that includes puppies from CKC Member Breeders.                 

Do you have a fenced yard or are you prepared to walk the dog a couple of times a day?

There is no such thing as a ‘free pet’.  There are vet bills, food, vaccines, boarding if you go on holiday, possibly training costs, and doggy daycare if you’re out at work all day to name a few.

Although no-one can foretell the future – pets live 15-20 years (depending on the pet and age you choose) will your pet become a family member and be part of your lifestyle in 10 years’ time?   The shelters are full of discarded pets who were unwanted when their owner’s lifestyle changed.

Look at adopting a pet from a shelter – there are so many waiting for homes.

Many shelters have their own websites but most also post their adoptable animals on or

If you choose to get a pet from a breeder, make sure it is a reputable one.  The good breeders will take the time to make sure the pet is a good fit for your lifestyle – and will take the pet back if it doesn’t work out for you or the pet.   

Many pet shops do not ‘sell’ pets anymore.  Some get the dogs from ‘puppy mills’ or back yard breeders who are only breeding the animals for money and have no concern for their animals’ welfare.

Almost all shelters and breeders will ask you to fill out a detailed adoption form and often a home visit.  Many people are put off by this and take it personally.  This is not done to screen out potential adopters but to find a proper match between the potential adopter and the animal.   The shelter volunteers have seen so many ‘dumped’ animals that they want to be as sure as possible that you and the pet will be compatible.  Here is a typical adoption form: this one is from the BC SPCA websiteVisit the Rescue Groups Page for shelters and foster groups in your area.

There are a few things to consider before you open your home to a new four-legged friend.
View these sites to get some information on what type of dog/cat would be compatible with your lifestyle – and you with his.
Petfinder Dog Adoption checklist
Petfinder Cat Adoption checklist

This link from Better Pets gives information on how to prepare for the highs, lows, and unknowns of dog ownership.

Do your research and carefully consider all the aspects and implications of adopting before you make a decision.  Hopefully,  you will enjoy many happy years with your new pet.