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Adopting a New Furry Family Member

October 1, 2014

Adopting a new pet means making trips to the pet store for bedding, toys, and treats. Perhaps you’ll choose a rhinestone-studded collar for your frou-frou lap dog; or maybe you’ll bring home a set of colorful bandannas for your Labrador retriever. If you’re opting for a feline housemate, you’ll likely end up with a collection of glittery, feathered, and wind-up cat toys. Whichever pet you choose, you’ll take numerous photos to send to your friends and family. Puppies and kittens are especially good photo fodder. Before you make that trip to the animal shelter, though, book a new patient physical exam with your Leesburg veterinarian. You want your new friend to be in tip-top shape so they can enjoy the spoiled rotten life you plan to give them.

Feline or Canine Companion?

You’ve probably figured out whether you’re a cat or dog person. While there are exceptions to every rule, cats generally have an independent, haughty streak, like they’re members of a secret society for which you would never qualify. On the other hand, most dogs have one goal: to spend lots of personal time with their owner. If you’re not available, they’re often happy to play with another human or two.

Cats’ and dogs’ habits are also strikingly different. Cats are notoriously low maintenance, happy with water, food, and a tidy litter box. Dogs, however, require frequent potty walks so they don’t make deposits in your house.

Couch Potato or Exercise Junkie?

Most cats thrive on regular playtime sessions. Whether you’re dangling a feathered bird in their face, or running a battery-operated mouse around the room, your cat will likely enjoy the stimulation and head off for a nap when he’s had enough. However, dogs have varied exercise needs; and matching your pooch’s preferences to yours will make your life much more pleasant.

If spending a quiet evening at home appeals to you, perhaps an affectionate lap dog or even-tempered larger breed would work nicely. However, if you’re a fitness enthusiast who wants a canine exercise partner, choose a finely tuned working or sporting dog. Keep in mind, though, that these dogs are bred for intense physical and mental exercise; and your house will suffer if you don’t give it to them.

Finally, remember that adopting a fuzzy puppy or kitten means you’ll need to devote time to potty walks or litter box education. Also, your younger pet’s personality might evolve over time, giving you some challenges you hadn’t expected. While your Leesburg vet keeps your pet healthy, he can also help you with any behavioral issues that arise.