couple with dog

Whether you’re dating, engaged, or married, adopting a pet with a significant other is a huge relationship milestone. Pets bring fun, laughter, and adventure into the home, and taking care of one together can be an incredible bonding experience.

Of course, becoming “pet parents” is a big responsibility, and one that can shift the dynamics of a relationship. Before you bring a four-legged family member into your partnership, here’s some important considerations to keep in mind.

Adopting a Pet – Are You Ready?

Having a heart-to-heart regarding pet adoption is the most important first step to becoming a responsible and successful pet-owning couple. Be honest when discussing the following:

  • Lifestyle factors – Think about the amount of time you spend away from home for work or travel. All pets need human interaction and lots of exercise and mental stimulation to thrive. Will you be able to hire a dog walker or pet sitter to help if you are regularly gone for long hours?
  • Finances – All pets will add to your monthly and yearly expenses. Food, supplies, veterinary visits, vaccinations, boarding expenses, pet insurance and more should be factored into your budget.
  • Type of pet – You may have your heart set on the beautiful Husky you saw on the shelter’s website, but if you live in an apartment or don’t have a lot of extra time to commit to exercising an active pet this is not the right choice for you. Consider the type of home you have and the amenities you can offer in terms of space and time before selecting the right species and breed for you.

Set Some Ground Rules

Before your new addition arrives home it’s imperative that you lay out the expectations and ground rules ahead of time. What types of behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable? Will you hire a trainer or tackle training yourselves? Is the pet allowed on the couch, chair, bed, or all three? How will you divide caretaking responsibilities?

Worst Case Scenario

No one likes to think about it, but the possibility exists that the relationship may not last. In this case, what would happen to your pet? As uncomfortable as it can be, it’s crucial to have this conversation prior to adopting a pet.

  • Who would take the pet? Would you share custody? If so, how would that look?
  • Who would resume financial responsibility for the pet?
  • If for some reason neither of you is able to care for the pet, who do you know that is able and willing to bring the pet into their home?

Don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital veterinarian as soon as your new pet arrives home. And please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding pet adoption.