17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

A dog is not just a ball of happiness – and fur – on four legs. It’s also a lot of investment in time and Money. For example, the cat is more independent and does not require daily outings, but ferrets, gerbils and other rodents require regular cage cleaning. Before making the important decision to adopt a companion, it is better to know what to expect.

Questions to ask yourself to find the right companion

There are many factors to consider when looking for your new pet. First, regarding the animal in question:

What are its characteristics and size? What care does it require? Do we have to take it out every day? When and how should it be fed? Is he losing his hair? How much space will it take up? Should you buy a cage? If so, in what format? What is his medical history? Will he have to be neutered and vaccinated?

Next, ask yourself a series of questions about yourself: how much time each day can you give your animal? Do you regularly have to be away (at the cottage, on vacation, etc.)? If so, do you know people who could take care of your pet, or will you have to board it? What is the budget allocated to your new animal? Are your children old enough to take care of it? Are any members of your family allergic?

Each pet has different needs, so you have to assess its costs – the financial investment and the time – before adopting it.

If they could talk, here’s what dogs and cats would love to tell you.

A long-term contract

The life expectancy of most dogs is around 15 years. That of cats can extend up to 20 years; for turtles, it reaches 40 years! So you have to project yourself into the future and imagine what your life – and that of your children – will look like in 10, 15 or 20 years with a pet.

Amélie Martel, director of animal welfare at the Montreal SPCA, believes that life expectancy is one of the most overlooked factors when adopting a faithful companion. The SPCA is currently experiencing a growing phenomenon of turtle abandonment, as many people are unaware of the longevity and needs of this reptile. After all, when you add a member to your family, don’t underestimate their life expectancy!

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Turtles are some of the pets best kept away from your face!

Access to a veterinarian

Some pets are more exotic and less common than cats or dogs, and few veterinarians specialize in caring for turtles, ferrets or parrots, for example. “Doing the basic follow-up that these animals need is more difficult, and often you will have to travel out of town to find a qualified person to meet the needs of your new friend”, underlines the wellbeing director. Being an animal at the SPCA.

In Montreal, for example, sterilizing dogs, cats and rabbits help fight against overpopulation by limiting unwanted litter and preventing numerous euthanasias. However, few clinics offer rodent sterilization services in the greater Montreal area.

17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

On another note, ferrets are gaining in popularity! “As soon as we have one for adoption, the world tears it away! On the other hand, ferrets are conducive to developing medical problems, tumours, and gland problems… The owners then opt for abandonment, and it is even more difficult for us to relocate them to a new family. 

It is important to learn before taking steps to adopt, especially about the diseases the animal is likely to develop,” advises Amélie Martel. “Mustelidae and rodents are the most fragrant animals, and this is another reason for their abandonment,” she concludes.

Because his wellbeing is paramount, be sure to find a reliable veterinarian for your pet.

Be open to change

“Your way of life will change completely because having a pet is a bit like having a child,” says Félix Tremblay, general manager of the SPA de Québec. Your spare time will be largely dedicated to your companion (especially if you adopt him as a baby), and you will probably not be able to be as spontaneous in your decisions as you were before. Your trips outside or impromptu dinners with friends will no longer have to drag on. We will be waiting for you at home.

Mrs Martel adds that turtle food is difficult to obtain and must be ordered in advance: “If we are short of it, it is impossible to go to the grocery store to buy it quickly. It must be ordered from outside the province.”

Additional costs

The first year of an animal’s life is certainly the most expensive. Not only will you have to pay for the adoption of your companion, but also the equipment, the food, the toys, the cage, the vaccinations and other appointments at the vet. You have to be financially ready before leaping. 

It is your happiness and that of your pet that depends on it!

In the case of animals in cages or aquariums, you must plan for their adjustment costs as your companion grows. In the case of turtles, the aquarium should be about ten times the animal’s size – knowing that a mature turtle can reach the size of a large cantaloupe. 

17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

“The turtle costs less than $10 to buy at a pet store. Add to that the purchase of the water filter, the water heater, a resting platform, a UV light and a heating light, and your turtle will cost you several thousand dollars!” recalls the director of the SPCA animal welfare.

As for rabbits, sterilization has great benefits, says Félix Tremblay. Indeed, a male will tend to “mark his territory” and urinate in the room’s four corners. On the other hand, dogs will have to be dewormed and microchipped, which adds other costs, often unplanned.

Cut costs by making your pet products!

The allergies

Allergies are still one of the leading causes of pet abandonment. Amélie Martel points out that in addition to the animal itself, hay for rabbits, bird feathers, and very dusty litter substrate are all prone to causing allergies, especially in asthmatics.

The bearded dragon is the most popular lizard among reptile enthusiasts. They often eat grasshoppers as their main food source. The Veterinary University of Vienna has found that an eight-year-old boy’s nocturnal asthma attacks were due to an allergic reaction to meals from his new bearded dragon.

You have to be patient.

First, a dog is not like a cat. You will have to potty train them; for some of them, it will not happen before six months. Therefore, you must be patient and ready to pick up their small messes.

Besides cleanliness, dressage, in general, can be a difficult and taxing task. Your dog will tend to test your limits, and you need to exercise a lot of patience before achieving a decent result. The personality of your animal will necessarily have something to do with it.

The SPA of Quebec also believes that what is most neglected by the masters is not the animal’s energy expenditure but rather its mental stimulation. “If, for example, the dog is a ball of anxiety, barking after the world, chewing on furniture… very often, you reap the fruits of what you have sown,” observes Félix Tremblay.

The latter believes that “people must get rid of the romantic idea that the animal directly understands the expectations and desires of its master! No child eats directly with their cutlery at the table! They are gradually taught to do so. An animal is no different! You have to invest a lot of time in his education to pave the way for him to succeed and keep his motivation and enthusiasm for learning.

It is also necessary to gradually educate your animal, to train it towards the expected behaviour. Without investing in a training school, it is possible to do scenarios or simulations with your dog.

17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

 “If he barks every time someone rings the doorbell, practice controlling the different variables: Ring the doorbell and practice your dog reacting with less vigour. If you want Pitou to walk to your right, don’t drag him down an artery crowded with distractions! Patience is key,” he advises.

Also, it is increasingly demonstrated by canine behaviour experts that punishing your dog when he commits a mistake is much less effective than rewarding him when he listens to you. 

“You have to encourage him to guide his behaviour! In addition to being beneficial for his mental expenditure, this training will make him better understand your expectations of him. Therefore, you will both be more satisfied and have a better relationship with your animal!” concludes Mr Tremblay.

You adore your four-legged friend, but make sure you don’t show signs that you love your pet too much.

Idleness is over!

Having a pet is an excellent motivation to move more. Choose an animal that will suit your needs and expectations! Never choose a dog breed because you find it more beautiful than another! All species have different behaviours and needs that are not suitable for everyone. Indeed, dogs’ energy level varies according to their species and the latter’s size. So take the time to learn about the breeds’ characteristics before making your choice.

Indeed, too many people underestimate the energy needs of rodents, especially rabbits who need 4 hours of freedom a day – watch out for chewed wires! “Everyone knows you should walk your dog 2-3 times a day, run it and socialize it. On the other hand, some people adopt an animal without being aware of its needs and its conditions of captivity and return to carry it for lack of time. The rabbit is a good example of this!” deplores Ms Martel.


Remember that a dog’s socialization period is between its third and twelfth week, at the risk of seeing it develop anxiety. Walking, running and playing are excellent ways to spend their energy, as is a mental exercise.

A cat is much more independent than a dog. You still have to give him attention daily and play with and pet him. Even though many cats are independent, they still need human companionship. They also need socialization early in life because, without proper socialization, the cat is at risk of developing behavioural issues such as anxiety and fear of humans.

Some cats have a more pleasant temperament than others and often prefer to have a feline companion in the house. It solves all at once (or almost) their needs for exercise and socialization.

You will laugh while reading these pet jokes.

17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

Litter and cage are very important.

Cats are very clean animals. The litter box should be large enough for the cat to fit in easily and be in a less isolated but easily accessible place. Some cats prefer a particular type of litter (dusty, gritty, etc.) and refuse to go inside if it’s not their preferred type or too dirty. The litter should therefore be changed regularly. Ditto for the aquarium of your fish or the cage of your rodent!

Un autre phénomène d’abandon courant est lié aux poules. Vous devrez vous assurer que votre poulailler est isolé pour l’hiver et muni de lampes chauffantes et de bols chauffants. «Si la poule ne pond plus d’œufs, allez-vous la garder? Le futur de la poule est à considérer!», questionne la SPCA.

Ils perdent leurs dents et font leurs griffes

Ce n’est pas tout le monde qui le sait, mais les chiots et les chatons perdent leurs dents. Cette période tout à fait normale est souvent très éprouvante pour l’animal. Achetez-leur des jouets pour qu’ils puissent faire leurs dents sans tout détruire sur leur passage!

Speaking of destroying everything, non-declawed cats will tend to file their claws on your couches. It is a natural need that should not be repressed. It is possible to teach a cat not to scratch the furniture, but the main thing is to ensure that it has a place to do so.

Your pet has special needs; here’s how to ensure your indoor cat is happy.

He needs to be groomed.

Brush him, put drops in his ears, cut his claws, brush his teeth and shampoo him from time to time Grooming can be very stressful for your new friend, so go easy on it and arm yourself with patience! Above all, please do not force it and do not go too quickly!

It is also easier to teach your adopting a pet to let its teeth be brushed or its claws cut from an early age; thus, he will let himself be done in adulthood.

Cats wash, but they must be brushed at least once a week to keep their coat shiny. Regular brushing helps prevent hairballs.

Of course, if you are not comfortable grooming your adopting a pet, you can entrust it to a groomer (other costs are expected). The rabbit will tend to cotton, which can trigger certain skin or stool problems. Without forgetting that the rabbit must also have its claws cut!

Follow these tips to groom your cat properly.

Know your lifestyle

You should know that a dog is daily and a cat is nocturnal. So don’t leave your dog alone all day while you’re at work, and don’t expect your cat to be a constant ball of energy playing with you. Their lifestyles – whether daytime or nighttime – are simply in their nature!

Moreover, cats are routine animals. 

For him to feel safe, his world must be predictable. It is, therefore, best to feed him at around the same time each day and play with him around the same time. Cats also prefer always to be offered the same food brand, such as for litter.

Make sure you know what ingredients to avoid in adopting a pet food!

Farewell silence!

What is also in their nature is their language. The only way your dog has to communicate with you is by yelping or barking; your cat will meow, and your mouse will squeal. Cats that aren’t operated on tend to meow during their heat periods – usually in the spring and fall. These periods can last from a few days to a few weeks.

Finally, some adopting a pet are not recommended in the presence of children. This is particularly the case with the hamster, a nocturnal animal. He will know how to keep your little mosses awake by playing all night on his exercise wheel, and conversely, if he is disturbed during the day during his rest periods, he can bite to show his dissatisfaction. Ultimately, this misconception will make you choose an animal completely unsuited to your lifestyle!

Misunderstanding between animals

One reason that justifies the misunderstanding between dogs and cats is the difference in their communication codes. For example, when Pitou wags his tail, this indicates his happiness, whereas this gesture expresses anger in feline people. Also, submission and kindness in dogs are manifested by the positioning of the ears back. When the cat does the same, it is about to attack.

Many other types of behaviours could illustrate the difference between these two animals. The sociability problems of each animal are also involved. Felines, canines, rodents, mustelids or reptiles cannot get along with their congeners.

17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022

In addition, the relationships between adopting a pet are closely linked to the notion of territory. The most difficult thing is to make a cat who was there first accept the presence of a dog. The latter is rather possessive and exclusive, and he will attack his new companion by showing aggressive gestures. On the other hand, if the dog occupied the place first, the situation would be less explosive because the dog is much more friendly and can easily accept a foreign presence.

Some breeds are more tolerant of others, so consider what adopting a pet you already own before getting another one. At first, separate them into different rooms so that the olfactory approach takes place gradually and also make sure to respect the dining and rest areas.

Avoid having any of these bad habits dog owners need to fix!

He’s a family member.

Although a pet is a lot of work and requires a long-term investment, the love it will give you will certainly make you forget the little mistakes it has made. Letting go is also very important. You will make mistakes, and so will your animal: if he forgives you, do the same!

Amélie Martel also specifies that the whole family must be on the same wavelength when it comes time to adopt a new friend. “Our role is to advise our customers, redirect them and guide them to the animal that best suits their needs and availability. 

The SPCA strives to find the right match depending on the behaviour and health of the animal in its foster family. If a member of this family is afraid of the animal in question, although the others adore it, this animal is not made for this family!” underlines Ms Martel. “For example, to feed a snake, you have to be able to give it small mice… otherwise, this reptile is not for you!”

Are you hesitating between a puppy or a dog? We give you 14 good reasons to adopt an older dog!

Opt for shelter

Samuel Côté, the owner of the shelter Les Fidèles Moustaches, reminds us of the importance of adopting in a shelter and not on the Internet to encourage, for example, the puppy mill industry. Although the animal is less expensive to buy, it is at risk of developing behavioural or health problems, which will incur additional costs. 

Also, these animals are rarely sterilized, vaccinated and dewormed. Mr Côté points out that adopting an animal from a shelter helps the animal and your wallet. After all, for Les Fidèles Moustaches, adoption does not mean buying an animal but rather adding a new member to the family.

Finally, the Quebec SPA specifies the importance of never giving an animal as a gift. It can indeed be a poisoned gift for the owner – by the costs incurred – as for the animal – by the negligence, it will suffer.

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17 Tips First-Time What to know before adopting a pet 2022