Pets can grow to be great additions to the family. They can create a wholesome, homey environment for you that is conducive to emotional growth. But before you give an empathic "yes" to bringing home an animal companion, you’ll first need to make sure if you’re ready for one.

Every year, hundreds of pets are abandoned by their owners due to address changes, financial issues, and behavioral problems, among others. These result in the increase of strays and cases of animal cruelty. To know if you and your household are ready for the huge responsibility of taking care of another life, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have you and the rest of your family talked about having a pet?
Taking in a pet is a big change that requires a great deal of adjustment from the entire family. Everybody needs to be on board. It’s important to flesh out concerns and to come into a proper compromise regarding taking care of your newest member.

2. Do you have enough space in your home for a pet?
Take into account that a lot of animals need enough room to move and play in. Don’t get a huge dog if the only area you can provide for it is a cage.

3. Is there any member of the family that has allergies?
Knowing your relatives’ health issues is being considerate not only to them, but also to the animal you’re planning to bring home.

4. Have your children been taught how to respect animals?
One of the reasons why children are prone to abusing animals is that they have not been educated on how to handle them. Parents and guardians need to teach them at a young age that there is a proper time to interact with pets, and that they need to be treated gently.

5. Do your children help with household chores?
If your kids do their share of tasks without being told, it means that they can be trained to participate in the proper care and maintenance of a pet.

6. Is every family member aware that having a pet is a life-long commitment?
Puppies and kittens are cute, but when they outgrow their cuteness, will you still love them? Unfortunately, a lot of pets get abandoned simply because they’ve grown up. Make sure that every member of your household can commit to loving and caring for an animal companion for life before even considering homing one.

7. Do you have time for your pet?
Dogs need to be walked. Cat litter needs to be scooped. As with any family member, a pet requires a time to be fed, bathed, and cuddled. If you can’t fit these in your busy schedule, you may want to consider postponing your plans until the time is right.

8. Are you financially stable?
Pets require the right kind of food and proper health maintenance, which means you need to be financially ready for such expenses.

9. Have you familiarized yourself with Animal Welfare Act 8485?
Republic Act No. 8485, also known as the The Animal Welfare Act of 1998, aims to protect all animals from any form of abuse and acts as a guideline for pet owners. It is important to familiarize yourself with its contents not only to know what’s ethical and not, but also to be able to participate in stopping animal abuse in your community.

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PHOTO: Pixabay

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