Thinking about adopting a pet? From February 28 to March 1, PetSmart Stores across the country will be hosting its first National Adoption Weekend in 2020. Nearly 200 animal welfare organizations across Canada will be onsite at the stores with animals ready to be adopted including dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, and other small pets.

When considering adopting, keep in mind that pets can provide as many benefits to you as you do them, such as helping to reduce stress, provide companionship, getting a bit of exercise and more. As you take your options into account, here are a few guidelines to consider when you’re ready to bring home a new furry family member…

LIFE STAGES:

If you prefer a lower energy pet, you may find a senior (age 7 or above) who may move a little slower that suits your lifestyle. But if you’re interested in getting in a little more activity and looking for a more energetic pet, consider adopting young puppies and kittens or active breeds such as Labradors, Hounds, American Terriers (commonly known as pit bulls) or even mixed breeds. Do your research and don’t hesitate to ask adoption centres about the different breeds and their personalities.

For first-time pet owners, a healthy adult dog or cat can help teach new pet parents the joys of having a pet and may not require as much care as a younger puppy or kitten.

Families with young children might consider a family-friendly breed or mixed breed such as a hound. Older kids may benefit from additional responsibilities such as walking the dog or cleaning the litter box. It’s a good idea to have everyone involved and help out where they can.

LIVING ENVIRONMENT:

In addition to the type and age of pet you adopt, you’ll need to consider the space you have available to welcome your furry friend.

If you live in a house with a yard, consider fencing your yard for more relaxed playtime. You may also want to take a look at what’s in your garden and removing any toxic plants including popular Hostas.

If you live in an apartment, discuss any restrictions with your landlord and find out where the closest dog parks and walking trails are to ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise. This National Adoption Weekend, while supplies last, PetSmart is ensuring dogs who find their forever homes are ready for outdoor adventures by providing a free Top Paw® coat or sweater with every adoption in stores across Canada.

Dogs need a place to call their own to feel safe. Planning  to crate train or give them their own room? Make sure the space is safe (it’s like baby proofing) get at dog’s level and check around for hazards too.  If crating is something you’re interested in, make sure it’s the right size for your pet.

If you’re a first-time dog owner, or first-time adopted dog owner, consult with a good animal trainer or behaviorist for some initial training — good for you and your new fuzzy family member.

For potential cat families: You should always have more litter boxes than you do cats; for example, if you have one cat make sure you have at least two litter boxes. Litter boxes need to be scooped daily and completely changed weekly.

VETERINARY CARE:

Most adoptions come with a free veterinary check-up within the first week. Visit the veterinarian to have your pet’s vaccine records reviewed and ensure you know the best options for food, exercise and preventative care.

You can prevent many common diseases by keeping your pet at a healthy weight, current on flea, tick and heartworm prevention, fully vaccinated and on a high-quality diet. Preventing diseases costs less money than treating them, so discuss options and any concerns you have with your veterinarian.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS:

According to PetSmart, most pets will have an annual veterinary bills between $200 to $500 and food bills between $200 to $400.

Adopting a pet can provide cost savings as fees at shelters and adoption events are typically lower than breeders. Also, many of these pets are already spayed or neutered.

To ensure your pet is covered in case of emergencies, our friends at PetSmart suggests considering options like pet insurance or opening a designated savings account and depositing 5% of your pay each pay period. If you take out an insurance policy as soon as you adopt your pet, he or she will not have any “pre-existing” conditions excluded from your insurance plan.

For more handy tips visit: PetSmart.ca adopt-a-pet