The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of changes to daily life. One of the positive effects of COVID-19 is that many individuals have turned to pets to tame loneliness or bring some brightness into their lives amidst all the uncertainty and turbulence.
In April 2020, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said applications to foster dogs and cats was up 200 percent. In addition, PetPoint, a software system shared by shelters nationwide, reported fostering and adoptions were up by 700 percent since 2019. A TD Ameritrade survey found 33 percent of Americans have considered fostering or adopting a furry friend during the pandemic.
While it may be tempting to rush out and adopt a pet right away, careful consideration must be given before bringing a new pet into a home.
One of the biggest considerations is cost. The TD Ameritrade survey found that dog owners spend up to $1,201 a year on their pets, while cat owners spend up to $687 per year on average. Food costs top the list of pet expenditures, followed by veterinary care and grooming.
Another aspect to consider is if a certain animal will fit its prospective owners’ lifestyles. Outdoor enthusiasts and physically active people may want an exercise buddy, so a high-energy dog breed may fit the mold. Those who want a cuddling companion or lap warmer may opt for a less active dog or a cat.
Research the pet
It is important to learn the care needs of specific pets, particularly among breeds of cats and dogs. For example, certain dogs may fit best with one person and not take to a household full of kids. Some breeds need ample outdoor space to run around, while others may be content to be couch potatoes.
Another consideration is temperament and the animal’s history. Some rescues come from abusive situations or may have spent years on the street, so owners must be ready to help such dogs adjust to more loving environments. It’s important to ask how the pet came to be in the shelter. All considerations need to be factored into the equation.
Learn the adoption process
Each shelter or rescue organization has its own rules and regulations for adoption, including fees they charge by way of a donation. According to the pet resource Top Dog Tips, a shelter needs to be sure that adoptive pet parents will be able to care for the pet. An extensive questionnaire and a potential home visit may be part of the application process. Veterinarian references, age restrictions (adoptive pet parents are often 21 years or older) and permission from a landlord if one rents will be needed. Some rescues have stipulations regarding fenced yards. Some shelters even insist on a disclaimer that they reserve the right to remove the pet if they feel the animal is not being properly cared for.