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7 Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Pet

By Stacy Painter
published: March 15, 2023 - updated: March 31, 2023 • 3 min. read
woman holding terrier mix at the shelter

Adopting a pet is a life-changing decision, and gathering as much information as possible about the dog or cat before making the commitment is important. Here are some essential questions to ask before adopting a pet.

1. What is the pet’s background, and how did it end up at the shelter?

Knowing the pet’s background is crucial when adopting a pet. Find out where the pet came from and how it was treated in the past. This can help you understand the animal’s personality and behaviors (such as being very shy if they weren’t properly socialized as a puppy/kitten) and can help you prepare for any future issues.


2. What is the pet’s age?

Knowing the pet’s age is key when adopting a pet. A pet’s age can determine its activity level, health, and training requirements. Younger pets require more attention and training, while older pets may have specific health issues that require special care. Determine if the pet’s age is suitable for your lifestyle and if you have the resources to care for an older or younger pet.

3. What is the pet’s breed?

Though many rescue animals are mixed breeds, rescue organizations can often make an educated guess about the pet’s breed makeup. Knowing the breed(s) in your future pet will help you understand what traits to expect. For example, some breeds are more vocal than others, some are inclined to chase or hunt, and some require more physical and mental stimulation than others.

4. What is the pet’s temperament?

Understanding the pet’s personality and potential behavior issues is essential when adopting a dog or cat. Some pets are more energetic and require more exercise and playtime, while others are more laid back and content with relaxing at home. If the pet has a history of aggression or anxiety, you need to determine if you have the time, dedication and resources to help your new pet adapt to life with you.

5. Does it get along with other dogs, cats, children, and strangers?

If you have other pets or children, knowing if the dog or cat you are considering adopting is comfortable and friendly with them is . Though some pets can adapt to a new life with other pets or children, others must be adopted into a home without children or other pets.

6. What are the pet’s medical needs?

Knowing the pet’s medical history and needs is crucial when adopting a pet. Find out if the pet has chronic medical conditions or requires ongoing medications. Determine if you have the resources and time to provide the pet with needed medical care. If the pet has specific dietary requirements or requires regular vet visits, ensure you can handle the additional expenses.

7. What is the pet’s training background?

When adopting a puppy or kitten, it’s a given that the pet doesn’t have much training, and the new pet parent will need to put in work to socialize, potty train, and teach manners to their new pet. However, pets from shelters and rescue organizations have a wide variety of backgrounds when it comes to training. You should think about if you have the time and patience to provide the pet with the necessary training or if you’d rather select a pet that is already housebroken and well-trained.

Adopting a pet is a life-changing decision that requires careful consideration. Gathering information about the pet’s background, age, temperament, medical needs, energy level, and training level can help you determine if the pet is a good fit for your lifestyle and home. Be sure to ask these and any other relevant questions before making the commitment to adopt a pet. Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience, but it’s vital to know what you are getting into when adding a new pet to the family to ensure you can provide the pet with a happy and healthy life.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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