Pets can bring so much joy and happiness to your life, but getting an animal is a big commitment. Before you take on that responsibility, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to provide the level of care your new pet will require.
DOLLARS AND SENSE
Cost is one of the biggest factors that some people fail to take into account when getting a pet. Pet owners need to be prepared for standard costs, such as food, grooming and routine veterinary care, but they also need to expect the unexpected and budget for emergencies.
Some pet owners will keep a separate savings account just in case they need to pay for an unforeseen and expensive vet bill. A good idea is to set up an automatic monthly transfer to your emergency account so you always remember to set aside money each month.
Pet insurance, like the Ontario SPCA Pet Insurance, is another option some pet owners choose. When an emergency happens, the last thing you want to think about is money. Having insurance means you know you’re covered if something happens to your pet. Be sure to review your options before committing, to ensure you find a plan that can be tailored to fit your needs. In most cases, plans allow you to choose the veterinarian who cares for your pet.
MEETING THE PURR-FECT MATCH
Once you are ready to start looking for your new friend, regardless of where you acquire your pet, make sure you do your research. To help prevent headaches and heartaches down the road, it’s critical to find out as much as you can about the animal, as well as the organization or individuals offering it for sale or adoption. For information on responsible pet purchasing, visit the Ontario SPCA’s blog at ospcablog.ca
Many Ontario SPCA animal centres and affiliate humane societies use the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match
program to ensure potential adopters know who’s in that carrier or on that leash. Meet Your Match evaluates an animal’s behaviour and interests and matches them to an adopter’s preferences so that you take home a pet you can really click with.
Curious about what type of adoptable dog or cat might be right for you? Take the online survey at meetyourmatch.ontariospca.ca
GOT YOUR PET? NOW, GO GET A VET!
Once you’ve got a pet, get a vet! Don’t wait for a health situation to arise before finding a veterinarian. Just one veterinary checkup a year will help protect pets against a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases, detect health problems sooner and avoid unexpected costs. Visit gotapetgetavet.ca to learn more about the various services veterinarians offer.
In addition to regular checkups, responsible pet owners should also have their pet spayed or neutered. By doing so, you can help reduce the number of unwanted animals that end up on the streets and make communities a safer place for our pets. Spaying or neutering pets may also reduce health risks and improve behaviour in your pet. Fixed pets are also less likely to roam, reducing the risk of injury, accident and loss.
It’s also advisable to speak to your veterinarian about having your pet microchipped. It’s a simple, painless and reliable form of pet ID to help increase the chance of being reunited with your pet should you become separated. Every year, thousands of animals are taken in by shelters and humane societies across North America and never make it home because their owners can’t be identified. You can help ensure your pet doesn’t become one of them by having them microchipped and keeping your information on file up to date.
ARE YOUR PETS READY FOR AN EMERGENCY?
Developing an emergency action plan is another line of defence pet owners should be utilizing to keep their animals safe. As part of your plan, set a primary and alternative meeting point away from the home in case of evacuation. Be sure to also keep a list of emergency telephone numbers, including your pet’s veterinarian, where all family members can find them.
You should also create a family emergency survival kit and a pet emergency survival kit for quick and easy access. Among the essential items that should be contained in the kit for your pet are a 72-hour food and water supply, as well as bowls, a leash or carrier, a pet first aid kit and any medications your pet is on. Visit ontariospca.ca/ep to create your own emergency pet survival kit.
For more resources for pet owners, visit the Ontario SPCA website at ontariospca.ca