What to do Before Adopting a Special Needs Pet

The third week of September is also known as “Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week.” In honor of that, we’d like to discuss what to consider before adopting a pet with special needs. Here’s a short checklist of advice for those who think they may have what it takes to open their homes to the needy.

  • Get lots of advice before you adopt – You’ll find plenty of allies if you seek them out: veterinarians, trainers, behaviorists and rescue personnel to name a few. They’ll usually be your best resources for helping you decide whether a pet with an issue, disease or disability is a good fit for your home.
  • Research your prospective pet’s specific issues – As owner, caretaker and buddy to a pet with complex needs, you’ll have a lot on your plate. But it’ll be much easier — and you’ll be far more effective — if you can get up to speed on the disorder or disability you’ll confront and what your charge will require.
  • Examine your finances – No pet is inexpensive, but some special needs pets require far more financial resources than others. What’s worse, the problem your prospective pet currently suffers is unlikely to be covered by an insurance policy.
  • Consider how much time and energy you’ll have to dedicate – Some pets’ problems can be very time consuming. If you have a busy schedule, then a pet that requires a lot more care may not be best.
  • Determine if you are physically up to the task – Some pets — dogs especially, of course — can be physically demanding. If you also suffer from health problems, you should really consider if you’re capable of giving the proper care.
  • Be honest with yourself – No item on this list should be approached without an open mind and a willingness to be totally honest with yourself. Remember, you’re taking on a big responsibility. Treat it accordingly.