Robyn Jaynes, DVM, is a pet care expert for PetSmart, one of the largest specialty pet retailers of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets, and is regularly featured on Petsmart.com. Before joining PetSmart, Jaynes received her training at Texas A&M University and started a private veterinary practice in Arizona. Here, she shares her insights on adopting a pet.
It changes your life significantly. Most notably, a pet brings companionship and unconditional love—although how they express this depends on the type of pet. Also dependent on the pet type is the time and cost required to properly care for him or her—a young dog may require significantly more time and cost than a pet rat. A pet also can change your lifestyle—a dog, for example, requires scheduled feedings, bathroom breaks and exercise.
This can vary depending on the person, their preference and the circumstance. There’s significant potential for the bond that develops between pet and pet parent, regardless of whether a pet is adopted or purchased. Some people prefer to purchase their pet or adopt it as a baby so they know the pet’s history and can raise him or her from a young age. Some prefer adoption so they can provide a home to a pet that may not otherwise have had one. Personally, I think of my dogs and cats as children and worry about them as if they were a human child. The bond with my fish is obviously not as affectionate, but I certainly enjoy watching them interact with each other and the beauty of the tank.
When choosing a pet, it’s best to first consider your lifestyle and the responsibility a potential pet requires, then consider what type of pet would be the best fit. For example, if you live alone and travel often or aren’t home much, a pet that requires less of a time commitment, such as fish or a small animal, likely would be a better fit. These pets take a bit of start-up money but often don’t require as much maintenance. Dogs, on the other hand, depending on the age and breed, can require significant time and ample cost.
Keep in mind your activity level, as well. If you’re looking for a companion to go on walks or take hikes, a cat may not be the best choice! If you live in a smaller home, without a yard, a large-breed dog may not be a good fit due to the space and energy requirements. Researching the type of pet and breed you’re considering will be the best way to ensure that the pet will be a good fit for your lifestyle.
The benefit of adopting an older pet is that you often have more information on how that pet behaves in a given situation. For example, does the dog get along with other dogs, does he like children, is the cat sociable or does she hide, etc.?
Taking care of health requirements, including vaccinations, spay/neutering and deworming. Training is an important part of bringing a new pet into your household. You want to help ensure it will be as successful a relationship as can be.
The required time commitment. A dog, for example, likely requires daily exercise and interaction, bathing, watering and feeding. And, depending on the pet, if the pet parent hasn’t researched costs in advance, this can be a surprise.
The services offered, types of pets treated, quality of care, cost and if they’re an AAHA [American Animal Hospital Association] member, which sets minimum standards. Take a tour of the hospital and meet the vet. Can you easily communicate with the vet? Is the location convenient?
All pets should be examined upon purchase/adoption and before being introduced to other pets.
Keep in mind that change takes time and patience. Try not to make too many changes at one time.
...it’s necessary to grow and learn.
Making the move from full-time private practice to PetSmart, where I believe I impact the safety and care of pets on a much larger scale.
For more information about Dr. Robyn Jaynes and PetSmart, visit www.petsmart.com.