Five things to consider when searching for your new pet

Cuddle puppy

Finding the right pet to adopt can feel a lot like finding “the one.” But with animals, as with humans, there’s more to a great relationship than love at first sight! Thinking about what kind of pet would complement you, your family, and your lifestyle is important.

On an average day, about 100 animals are waiting to find homes at Animal Humane Society. With so many potential best friends to choose from, here are five things to consider when searching for your perfect match.

1. Time commitment

How much time can you devote to a pet? Think both hours in the day and years overall.

Dogs and cats can live 15 years or more, while small critters usually live less than 10. Consider your plans for the future and how an animal fits into them. For example, if your dream is to travel the world, consider where your pet will stay while you’re gone.

Also take into account the everyday commitment each furry friend requires. Dogs need potty breaks, exercise, and (often) training. Cats and critters can usually be left alone for longer periods of time, however they still need daily care and deserve your love and attention. Determining how much flexibility you have in your schedule prior to adopting will help you determine what type of pet is right for you.

2. Costs

You can end up opening your wallet more than expected for furry family members. Before adopting, consider the initial and ongoing costs of owning a pet. These may include:

Orange cat
  • Adoption fees
  • Food
  • Grooming
  • Obedience training
  • Pet supplies
  • Licensing
  • Veterinary care
  • Boarding/pet sitters
  • Emergency medical needs

Unconditional love can add up fast. Is a dog, cat, or critter in your budget?

3. Other pets

While you may crave a house full of furry friends, you should also consider how it will impact your current pets’ wellbeing. Will they be happy to share their home with a new fur sibling or do they prefer the routine and individual attention they receive now? Our pets can’t speak for themselves so consider:

  • Their energy level

  • Their usual reaction to new animals

  • Their prey drive (when considering adding a small pet to a home with a resident dog)

  • Any medical or behavioral issue that may make introducing a new pet more difficult

If you adopt a new pet, remember, it often takes time and intentional effort before everyone happily coexists. Make sure you’re committed to ensuring a smooth transition.

When introducing a new animal, we also recommend starting with a separation period, because properly staged introductions increase the chances of a positive outcome. Think about how you’ll separate the animals once your new pet is home.


4. Other household members

Other members of your household should meet potential pets before you decide to adopt and bring them home. You should also consider:

  • Allergies
  • Fear or discomfort associated with animals
  • Expectations in sharing pet care responsibilities

5. Landlord approval

If you rent or lease your home, check with your landlord before adopting to be sure you’re allowed to have a pet and can afford any required pet deposits. Sadly, pets are sometimes returned because of lease restrictions, breed bans, or landlord disapproval.

Adoption process

Get to know potential pets

It's important you spend time getting to know prospective pets to ensure a great match!

Start by checking our online adoption listings (updated every 20 minutes) or stopping by one of our three adoption centers in the Twin Cities metro area.

You’re welcome to visit the shelter anytime during adoption center hours to meet our adoptable animals. Staff and volunteers are happy to assist you in finding a new best friend. Each location has private visitation rooms where you and the pet can get acquainted.

Once you’ve found an adoptable animal you love, we’ll sit down for an informal consultation to ensure the pet you’ve selected is a good match. Your happily ever after can start at Animal Humane Society. It just takes lots of compatibility, a little work, and even more love!

See Adoptable Animals

P.S. Need a smile? Find day-brightening adoption success stories on our Tumblr page.