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Before getting a pet, no matter where you get it from, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, and foremost, make sure that your entire family is ready, willing and able to care for a pet. Make sure that everyone is in agreement on the type of pet you will be buying. Also make sure everyone understands what type of pet is out of the question.

If you are a first time pet owner, make sure you know exactly what that means. Do you know the basic needs of the pet that you have in mind? Do you know the approximate expense involved? Adopting a pet means adopting an entire lifestyle as well, so make sure you do your research on the various breeds of pets to make the best choice for you and your family. If there is any possibility of allergies with your family members, then by all means visit shelters and pet shops and watch for reactions before making the leap. Also, consider taking your children to areas where they might interact with different animals and watch how they behave. Some children are just not big animal lovers, and they should never be forced to pet or talk to one, especially if they are afraid. A fearful child may make a dog or cat apprehensive enough to bite.

Where you live will determine the size or type of the pet that you should look at adopting. If you live in an apartment, check you lease to make sure it does not restrict the animal you are looking at purchasing. Small homes and small yards rule out large breed dogs that need a lot of room to roam and stretch out their big legs. Also to consider is that some smaller breeds may not be appropriate with younger children - they tend to be hyper and nip at the drop of a hat. During the adoption process make sure to ask a lot of questions.

Again, before even going to the shelter to adopt a pet, know what you would like to find, and what you do not want to bring home. Make sure that everyone knows from the start of the process what your intentions are- including the shelter staff. Do not let an overzealous worker talk you into a pet that is not really right for you or your family. This is a serious commitment, and not one that should be taken lightly.

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