WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — If you're looking to add a new four-legged member to your family, there are many deserving candidates up for adoption in the D.C. area. But there are factors to consider before bringing home a new furry friend. Friendship Hospital for Animals has tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

  1. Evaluate your time. Although cats require less maintenance than dogs, you still have to set aside a portion of your day. Make sure you'll have time to play with and give your cat proper attention. If you're more of a dog person, but you work long hours, a puppy who requires training may not be the best choice. Older dogs are typically lower maintenance and would be a better fit. 
  2. Get Insurance. Many veterinary hospitals offer wellness plans. These spread out the costs of certain vaccines and diagnostics. Pet insurance also now covers more advanced procedures such as dialysis and MRI's.
  3. Get all house members are on board. Whether you have kids or roommates, everyone in the home will end up caring for your new pet at some point. Make sure everyone knows where the necessary supplies are and the feeding schedule. If you already have other pets, introduce them to each other while they're on leashes and with treats for positive reinforcement.
  4. Factor in your living space. Homes in this area are often on the smaller side. If you live in a cramped apartment, that Great Dane may not be the best option. But there are certain breeds that thrive in smaller spaces. Most dogs in rescue shelters are mixed breeds, so their traits may not be as well known. 
  5. Be patient. You can do hours of research on what breed is best for you, but the true personality of your newly adopted dog may not be apparent right away. Both pet and owner need to adjust to each other, and the dog needs time to get familiar with their surroundings. If you're adopting a cat, use pheromone sprays to make them more comfortable. Kittens are quicker to adjust than older cats. Be patient with senior pets and remember they need loving homes too.

This article is sponsored by Friendship Hospital for Animals

For more pet tips, follow Great Day Washington on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.