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How To Adopt A Pet: A Guide
●July 27, 2021●6 minute read
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Adopting an animal is an exciting and rewarding experience, wherein you’re providing a second chance and a new home to an animal that might have been abandoned or neglected. However, there are some things you’ll need to do before your new pet is settling into its forever home.
In this simple guide, we’ll discuss how to adopt a pet from the RSPCA and how to prepare for a new pet to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Finding your pet
The first hurdle you’ll need to overcome is finding the right pet for you, your family, and your home. There are two main ways you can go about finding your new addition: you can search online, or go to an RSPCA shelter.
You can search on the RSPCA ‘adopt a pet’ website for the specific type of animal you’re looking for. You can input the animal breed, state, and location you’re living in to find the animal that is meant for you. By searching online, you can learn more about the animal’s personality and make a decision about whether or not they might be a good fit.
Alternatively, you can visit your nearest RSPCA animal shelter and meet the animals that are there. This way, you can meet all of the animals that are up for adoption face-to-face, and see which animals you get on with best. This can influence which animal or animals you choose to adopt.
If you find your pet online, you’ll need to organise a time to meet them before you take them home. However, if you meet your new fur baby in the shelter, you’ll still need to put in your adoption application online.
Once you’ve found your new furry addition, it’s time to sort out the paperwork. You’ll need to find your pet on the ‘adopt a pet’ website (even if you met in person) and fill out the application form.
In the application, you’ll need to provide all of your personal details, including your full name, address, current living situation, and more relevant information. You’ll also need to discuss whether you’ve met the pet, what you’re looking for in an animal, and more to assist the RSPCA staff in assessing your application.
After you submit your application, you’ll need to wait for the RSPCA to contact you with an outcome. Likely, they’ll get back to you within 24 hours to a week with the best suited pet for you. Once they’ve done this, you’ve found a new forever friend! You’ll need to organise a time to pick them up and take them home with you.
Now that you’ve found the perfect pet for you, it’s time to prepare for them so that they have everything they need and can hopefully settle in quickly.
Taking care of a puppy or dog
Taking on a dog will likely require more time and effort than adopting a cat, bird, or other animal. Particularly if you’re adopting a puppy, there are a few things you’ll need to organise and prepare to do:
- Living space and sleeping area: Set up a living space and sleeping area that they can settle into. Provide some safe toys so that they can play and keep themselves entertained if they’re ever left alone.
- Toilet training: Especially if you’re adopting a puppy, you’ll need to toilet train them. Regardless, even when adopting an older dog, you’ll need to show them where the toilet is. You might want to look into reward-based positive reinforcement training.
- Desexing, vaccination, and vet care: Typically, dogs and puppies from the RSPCA are desexed, vaccinated, and microchipped. However, especially if you’re adopting a puppy, you might need to find a vet to administer additional vaccinations. Regardless, finding a vet is always a good idea, in case your pet needs some medical treatment. You could also ask them about flea treatments, worming, and other essentials.
- Microchip registration: All dogs and puppies from the RSPCA are microchipped. You’ll need to register the microchip with your information in the case that your dog runs away or gets lost.
- Training, socialisation, and exercise: You’ll need time to spend with your dog. You might want to train them in basic obedience, like sitting or staying, and allow them to exercise and socialise with other dogs by taking them to a dog park. In addition, it’s important to walk a dog regularly, as this is highly important for their health and even socialistation.
- Food: Make sure you have an appropriate, nutritional food source ready for your dog’s arrival. The RSPCA can recommend food when you pick them up, or you can get advice from a vet.
Did you know?
Puppies have what’s called the ‘critical socialisation period’ that occurs when they’re between three to 17 weeks old. This can shape and influence their behaviour as adult dogs.
Taking care of a kitten or cat
While less work than a puppy or dog, you’ll still need to prepare for your new feline. Again, kittens will be more work than an adult cat.
- Living space: You should make your home ready for a cat by creating an exciting living space for it. You might want to invest in a scratching post (for both your cat and your couch’s sake), toys, sitting posts, or other cat-related items. So, when they’re left alone, they hopefully don’t spend their time destroying your couch.
- Litter training: If you’re getting a kitten, you’ll need to teach them to be litter trained. If you’re getting an older cat, you’ll need to show them where their litter tray is. You can look into litter training techniques, or if you’re having trouble, speak to a vet.
- Desexing, vaccinations, and general care: All kittens and cats from the RSPCA come desexed, vaccinated, and in good health. However, your kitten might need additional vaccines as it gets older. You should find an accessible vet to talk to about vaccinations, and that you can take your cat to if they need medical assistance.
- Provide a hiding space: Cats enjoy being in dark, enclosed spaces. Provide them with a hiding spot, like a cardboard box or space under a bed, that they can go to when they need some alone time.
- Microchip registration: All cats and kittens come microchipped. You’ll need to register your details to the microchip in the case your cat is lost or shows up at an RSPCA.
- Food: Ensure you’ve got cat food available that supports your cat’s dietary requirements. Again, the RSPCA will likely recommend food to you when you pick them up. Otherwise, you can ask a vet.
Things you’ll need for your new pet
To give you a general idea of the items you’ll need for your new pet, here are some important things you’ll need for a happy and healthy cat or dog.
What you’ll need for a cat
- One food bowl
- One water bowl
- A soft, warm, and comfortable bed
- A litter tray
- Access to a high spot
- A scratching post
- A brush
- Cat toys
What you’ll need for a dog
- One food bowl
- One water bowl
- A soft, warm, and comfortable bed
- A crate (if your dog is crate trained)
- Dog toys
- A big backyard where they can run and use the bathroom
- A dog leash
- A collar
- A brush
A final note
Bringing on a new pet can be great for you and for your family. Adoption is a great way to give an animal a second chance at a happy and healthy life. However, it’s a big responsibility. So, it’s important to ensure you’re prepared, you’re ready, and you’re able to take care of your animal for its whole life. Remember, it’s completely dependent on you, so make sure you do your research on how to best care for your animal.
If you’re still tossing up whether to adopt a pet, here are some things to consider before getting a pet.
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Written by Rachel Horan
Rachel Horan is a Content Writer for Jacaranda Finance. Rachel has previously produced content for Brisbane City Council, Black & White Cabs, and Clubs Queensland. She has a Bachelor of Mass Communication with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology.