By Ashish Anthony*

It’s always fun when you bring home a cute little pup. It’s exciting to see him do things that make you smile like when he tilts his head and focuses intently upon you with those pretty eyes, until he pees or poops where he’s not supposed to. One should consider quite a few things before getting a pet. It’s not as simple as it sounds – you shouldn’t just stroll into a pet store and get a pet.

Generally a pet will live an average of 12–14 years; the basic rule is the smaller the breed, the longer they live. So for example, if the lifespan of a Great Dane is 8–10 years, a Jack Russell Terrier’s lifespan would be 18–20 years. So accordingly you can decide, based on the next 10–12 years, where your life is headed.

When Should You Get A Puppy?

If you are a student and you’re planning to get a pet, you need to consider your exams and any travel plans to a different city or country for further studies. All these factors must go into your decision.

If you are getting your pet just when you’ve started your career and are single, you might want to consider your future as you will have a married partner to contend with who might or might not be comfortable with the pet.

You might have planned on getting your pet just after getting married as you might not be planning to have a baby immediately. This is a very good time as all people who are going to be responsible for the pet will be aligned to the idea. Just know that when you have your own baby, you cannot abandon your pets as they are not disposable. Your baby might not have any problem with your pet but your pet might feel side-lined. You should try and make sure that your pet still feels as loved as he was, maybe by giving him a little more attention while your baby is growing up.

If you plan to get a pet after you have had your baby, I suggest you do it once your baby is 3 years or more. This will ensure that your baby is strong enough to handle the presence of a naughty and boisterous puppy.

You can also plan to get a pet when your children are going out to study, or have moved out after marriage or otherwise.

All in all, before you get a pet, ensure that you have considered at least 10–12 years of responsibility of the pet. You are responsible for your pet’s physical and psychological wellbeing, and for your pet’s destiny.

Deciding On Adopting A New Puppy Or An Adult Rescued Pet? 

Getting a new puppy is saying yes to a lot of responsibility. It takes many sleepless nights, visits to vets, house training, puppy training, feeding many times a day and a lot of chewed up shoes and furniture. But it’s all worth it.

The best stage of being a pet parent is experiencing the puppyhood of your pet. You can witness and enjoy every crazy thing he does. It’s also the best time to build a bond with your pet, as this bond remains for its whole lifetime, if built with love and patience. Your pet can be that loyal friend you always wanted in your life, but you need to be totally responsible for every aspect of his growth.

An older rescued pet is much of a ready-made pet where mostly all of major efforts required are already taken care of. Be it vaccinations, basic training or a basic set of understanding. But adopting a rescued pet, who might have suffered abuse or neglect, isn’t always easy. Your new pet might feel safe now, but he may still be dealing with emotional trauma from the past. You need to be prepared to work hard and give a lot of time to build a relationship. It’s important for you to gain his trust so that he does not feel that he will be abandoned again. You should introduce him to everything gradually, at a pace with which he is comfortable. If he is fearful of something, try giving him treats as you work on overcoming that fear. There may be many growls and many snaps, maybe even a bite, but you need to be patient, and you will eventually win a wonderful friend.

Deciding On Getting A Small Or Large Pet? 

While you’re considering pet ownership for the first time, you will already have a handful of specific breeds in mind and all of them are wonderful in their own way. Before choosing a breed, consider your own lifestyle above everything else. The size of pet you choose should be largely based on your activity level, living space, and any physical or financial limitations you may have. Before you finally settle on the appropriate breed, it’s advisable to look at the big picture.

A smaller sized pet is easier to handle and manage. You can pick him up when you need to, and take him travelling with less hassle than a medium or large pet. They can fit in anywhere, even in small apartments.

Although, all pets require supervision but large ones do not require constant watchfulness. Most of them act as deterrents for people who have security as one of their concerns. It mostly depends on the space you want to share with your pet. A large pet can offer you a healthier lifestyle. He can be your perfect jogging partner. He can be a very helpful personal trainer.

Puppyhood can seem daunting, but remember to be patient with your pets as they learn to adjust in their new surroundings! The above points are important because abandoning your pet later, is not an option. 

*Author is the Founder of Just Dogs, #1 Pet Retail brand in India.

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