Tan and white puppy

It’s easy to fall in love but caring for a pet is a big commitment. Before you visit, make sure you are ready for the changes a pet will bring into your life. The checklist below will help you prepare.

  • Think about why you want a new pet. You will live with your decision for many years. Avoid adopting on impulse or because of family pressure.
  • Evaluate your schedule to see if you have the time to commit to a pet. All pets need basic care, exercise, playtime and love. You should allow at least 2 hours per day in your schedule for walks, exercise and other basic needs. Some pets may require more time.
  • Evaluate your budget. Over the lifetime of a pet, the cost of ownership can be quite high. It’s best to budget at least $1,500-$2,000 per year for expenses.
  • Consider how you will handle special challenges that will come along. Housebreaking, furniture damage, and medical issues are all common in the lifespan of a pet. Be sure you have the time and money to tackle these issues.
  • Research the pet rules of your living situation. If renting or in a condo/co-op, inquire about size, breed, age, training requirements and pet deposits. Get the policy in writing. If you own, check with your homeowners insurance to find out if they have breed restrictions. Click here for more tips.
  • Evaluate your current lifestyle. If you’re about to move, enter college or take a new promotion requiring more hours on the job, you may want to wait until you’re more settled.
  • List some of the challenges your living situation presents to be sure your new pet is a good match. For example: a barking terrier may not be a good choice for apartment living.
  • Research pet care options for traveling. You’ll need to plan to take your new pet along or arrange for care through family and friends, or a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.
  • Identify how to pet-proof your home. CHS encourages adopters to keep their pets indoors. Companion animals live longer, have better health and are happier if they can be inside (even at night) with their families.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations and be an ambassador for responsible pet ownership. By following rabies, license and leash laws, keeping ID tags on your pet, cleaning up after your pet and practicing spay/neuter (included as a benefit in Connecticut Humane Society adoptions) your actions will encourage others to do the same.