Here is a list of the biggest pet adoption mistakes you should try to avoid:
- Assuming that small pets are easier than big pets. Little animals like rabbits, hamsters and even fish can often be a lot harder to take care of than larger animals like dogs and cats. Rabbits, for example, have very delicate digestive systems. Consequently, preparing and giving rabbits the right food is much more difficult than just opening a can of food for a dog or a cat.
- Not giving older animals a chance. Sure, kittens and puppies are cute, but there are a lot of great adult animals at the shelters as well. In fact, there many advantages in getting an older animal. The older pets are already housebroken, don’t run around the house breaking everything, and are very appreciative of the love you give them. Some people assume that there must be something wrong with the older animals up for adoption. Nothing could be further from the truth. Often the previous owners had personal circumstances, like moving, that forced them to give up a pet. Sometimes the previous owner dies and the animal was left all alone.
- Giving animals the food they want instead of the food they need. Like little kids, animals don’t always know what is best for themselves. Dogs love chocolate, but it is dangerous for them and can even be deadly. Cats love cream, but it is terrible for their digestive systems. Rabbits love carrots (remember Bugs Bunny), but in fact carrots are among the worst foods you can give to a rabbit.
- Anthropomorphism – This is the act of giving an animal human characteristics it does not really have. As much as we love our animals, they are not human. As a pet owner, it is your responsible to learn the characteristics of that type of animal, and not just assume the reactions are the same as a human. Dogs, for example, want you to take charge. They are descended from wolf packs which have a very rigid social structure. Dogs need an Alpha to follow. Cats will love you, but they will never 100% trust you, and you should never 100% trust a cat. If you leave a piece of food on the table unattended the cat will steal it. You may be able to train a dog not to steal food, but never a cat. Whatever type of pet you decide on, take the time to read up on what the characteristics of that type of animal and breed are. You should adapt to them, not expect them to adapt to you.
Whatever you do make sure you understand that when you adopt a pet you are taking on the responsibility for another creature’s life. It will be totally dependent on you to survive. Make sure you live up to that challenge. However, any real pet lover will tell you that the rewards you get back are a thousand times more than any effort you put out.