The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach - A Warm Heart for a Loving Home! 409 Bay Street, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
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Choosing the Right Pet

Animals come in all shapes, sizes and energy levels! Even pets of the same breed will possess different personalities. So, speak with our adoption counselors and let them help you find a pet that matches you and your family. Our staff works with the pets every day and know their personalities. We are here to help you!

Why do I want a pet?

Adopting a pet because your children have been asking for a puppy or a kitten can be a mistake. Problem free, responsible pet ownership requires children who are mature enough to properly handle and care for your new pet.

Do I have time for a pet?

Pets still need attention (food, water, care, and companionship) even if you are too tired or too busy. In over half the cases, the female family member bears the responsibility of caring for the pet.

Can I afford a pet?

In addition to adoption or purchase fees, consider annual expenses for veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, food, pet supplies, flea control, etc. Depending upon the size, breed, diet, etc., the average cost of owning a household pet is approximately $1,000 a year.

Am I able to have a pet where I currently live and am I planning to move?

Many rental communities either don’t allow pets or have restrictions as to the type of pets they allow. Many landlords require an additional deposit if you own a pet. If you move and want to move the pet as well, your choice of housing may be restricted.

How many years can I commit to a pet?

A pet is a lifelong commitment. Many cats and dogs can live anywhere from 8 to 20 years of age. Animals like horses, parrots, and tortoises can live significantly longer. When choosing a pet, think about your future life plans and goals. Do you plan to marry, have children, move, or relocate overseas? Will you join the military, go away to college, or need to care for an elderly relative? We know lifestyles can change and no one can foresee the future, but it is very important to take your future plans into consideration when selecting a pet.

How much time do I spend at home on an average day?

Puppies and kittens require a lot of physical interaction, training, and supervision and will not react well to being alone for a significant amount of time during the day. Most adult pets can easily adjust to your schedule as long as you give them time to learn the family rules. If all of your family members are away from home more than eight hours most days, a dog may not be the appropriate choice for your household.

Do I want a pet that will participate with me in outdoor activities?

If you want a dog to take hiking and camping, to play ball or swim in the lake with, or to train to catch flying discs, you should consider a teenage or young adult dog. For major outdoor activities a dog should be a certain size and have natural hardiness. Dogs that are involved in these types of activities must have excellent manners, and you must be willing and able to build a strong relationship with your dog, including ongoing obedience training.

Do I want a "lap-pet" that will be physically affectionate and cuddly?

Most puppies and kittens will accept some physical affection, but they don't all grow up to be pets that like to be cuddled. This is another good example of a specific personality trait that will be easier to find in an adult animal.

Do I prefer a certain physical appearance, coloring or coat?

If you like specific physical traits you can do some "educated guessing" with a puppy or kitten, but you'll still be guessing. By the time a cat or dog is about six months old, these physical traits will be clear, plus you’ll be able to see what kind of personality traits go along with the “package.”

How large is "too large" for my lifestyle?

Puppies and kittens grow up, and believe it or not, thousands of puppies and kittens lose their homes each year because someone didn't think about what their adult size might be. If you have a specific size in mind for your ideal pet, it’s not a good idea to guess. By the time cats and most dogs are six or seven months old, you can usually tell what size they’ll be when they’re fully grown.

Many large dogs are surrendered to our shelters because they were cute, little, fluffy puppies one week and big, clumsy, enthusiastic teenagers the next. It takes time to teach any dog basic manners even more time and patience with a puppy. You can benefit from someone else's poor planning if you adopt an adult or teenage dog, but only if you're willing to do what they did not - teach him the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This training may take weeks or months, but it can begin very simply.

How can I teach my kids to take good care of pets?

The best way to teach your children how to be responsible pet caregivers is to be one yourself. This should start before you even get a pet - make sure you have realistic expectations about pet ownership. And take steps to select the right animal for your family at the right time.

Ultimately, your children will learn how to treat animals - and people - by watching how you treat the family pet. They'll study how you feed, pet, and exercise your companion animal. And they'll pay close attention to how you react when a pet scratches the furniture, barks excessively, or soils in the house. Frustrating as these problems are, "getting rid of" the pet isn't just unfair to the pet and your children, but it also sends the wrong message about commitment, trust, and responsibility. When faced with pet problems, get to the root of the problem. Often a veterinarian, animal shelter professional, or dog trainer can help you resolve pet issues so you can keep the whole family together.

Do we want a pet?

The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach strongly recommends making this decision as a family. Make sure that your family is united in this decision and not simply getting a pet because the children have been begging. Get everyone involved in selecting a pet and don't try to surprise someone with a pet. It is a wonderful experience to pick out your special pet or having that special pet pick you together as a family. And that pet will reward you with unconditional love for many years to come.

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