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Before You Adopt

By Lara Shannon. Certified dog trainer and behaviourist, and Petstock Ambassador.

The thought of getting a new pet is exciting for anyone, however thousands of pets still end up in shelters each year.

Before adopting or fostering a pet, it’s important to do your homework, assess your lifestyle and choose the right pet to suit.

Pet ownership is a long-term commitment that requires time and effort to ensure they get the training, companionship and care they need. Other companion pets, such as cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, also have their own unique needs, so it’s important to understand what these are for any type of animal you are considering.

Researching breed-specific needs for dogs, cats or even rabbits will help you better understand a pet’s common temperaments, health issues and dietary requirements. This will also help you to understand their mental and physical needs and how much company they require.

If you are looking to rescue an animal, you’ll need to understand any behaviour issues the pet may have and ask yourself if you are prepared to put in the time and money that may be required for training and veterinarian care.

There are several other areas of your life you will need to evaluate when considering animal adoption.


Do you have young kids? Are you planning to have children in the future? When choosing to adopt a dog for example, consider which breed, size and temperament is suitable for children, now and in the future. There are many dogs for adoption that are suitable for children of all ages!


Dogs need company, daily play, training and socialisation to help keep them happy. If you work full time or have a busy lifestyle, then a dog may not be the right choice for you at this stage of your life. While cats or other less reliant pets can be a better choice, it is still important to understand the personality traits of different breeds.


If you’re unable to afford a pet, it’s unlikely you’ll be equipped to provide them with the proper care they need for the rest of their life. Costs include food, vaccinations and other health related care needed to keep a pet healthy.

The Future

Longer term plans such as travel, moving interstate or even overseas need to be thought about before adopting a pet. Considering your age and the age of your adopted pet is also important in ensuring you can care for them for the duration of their life. If you’re unsure whether you’re ready to commit to a rescue pet, fostering is a great option. Foster pets depend on the support of fosterers to help them develop their social and training skills to better their chances of finding their new family.

Home Environment

How much room do you have at home? Do you have a backyard or live in an apartment? Is it suitable for the pet or breed you are considering? These are all important questions you must ask yourself before getting a pet. You also need to consider any other pets you already have before adopting and bringing a new one home. Different pets have different personalities, so you need to think about whether it’s safe for your current or future pets to be living together.

Adopting or fostering a pet is a rewarding and life changing experience.

To see a once anxious, reactive or timid pet become a calm, loving and playful companion makes any challenge all the more worthwhile.

Lara Shannon is a certified dog trainer and behaviourist, and Petstock Ambassador. She’s also the host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play and author of dog handbook ‘Eat Play Love (Your Dog)’. Her number one passion is to educate and empower people to help improve the lives of companion animals.

A long time ago, we made a choice not to sell dogs or cats in our stores.

Instead, we’re advocates for pet adoption, and our stores proudly partner up with rescue groups in Australian and New Zealand communities to promote lovable rescue pets.

Whether it’s by holding in-store pet adoption days or fundraising and awareness activities, we’re devoted giving homeless pets a voice and helping them find loving families.

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