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Finding a new pet

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So you’re thinking about adding a member to your family? Welcoming a new four legged or feathered companion to your household can be a lot of work, but by doing your homework the process can be smooth and rewarding, ending with joy for both yourself and your new pet. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies offers you tips and advice to help you make the right choices when it comes to getting a new pet.

A new pet will no doubt enrich your life and, as a responsible owner, you will want to give your new friend the happy, healthy life they deserve. Before you rush out the door, there are some important steps that you will want to take. Unfortunately, new pet owners are too often swept up in new pet “cuteness” and fail to take into consideration important questions and recommendations that can result in heartbreak, unexpected expenses and unnecessary stress for both the animal and you the owner.

What does it take to be a responsible pet owner?

One of the most important things your new pet needs from you is time. Dogs in particular are pack animals and they need to bond, play and share affection within their pack. Cats, of course, need plenty of playtime too. So, as a responsible pet owner, you should be prepared to enrol your dog in obedience training and also spend time practicing obedience at home. You will need to socialize both dogs and cats to all kinds of new people – young, old, with beards, hats, coats, etc. – so you should take your new dog with you wherever you can. You need to establish rules and routines to help your new pet adjust and fit into your family. Pets that lack training and socialization are much more difficult to live with and are usually not so well received by friends and family. Invest the time right away, starting when you bring your furry friend home.

Exercise and nutrition are also important components of a pet’s healthy lifestyle. For dogs, they require adequate playtime and a walk at least twice a day. In addition, responsible owners feed their animals the highest quality of food that is within their means and ensure that adequate fresh water is always available. Annual check-ups with a veterinarian are also important for the health of the animal. You will also need to pick up after your dog in the backyard as well as in your neighbourhood, clean your cat’s litter box or the crate or aquarium of other pets, and provide proper grooming for your pet.

As Canada’s national animal welfare organization, we want to help everyone who’s thinking about becoming a pet owner and to inform them about the challenges, commitments and rewards that are involved in pet ownership. Check out the following sections for more information prior to making the commitment to a new pet:

For more information on care, concerns and other information on your specific type of animal please visit the general pet information section.

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