New Pet Checklist

Pets are awesome; they love us, slobber on us, and teach us new things every day. Deciding to become a pet owner seems like a no-brainer, but giving a pet their forever home is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly.

When you are ready to add a new member to your family, you are making a lifetime commitment to that animal, their health, and wellbeing.

Taking a moment (or two) to consider the time, monetary, and physical requirements of different animals, before making a decision, is the best way to prepare for your new buddy!

Which Pet is Right For Me?

Chubby GoldfishDid you know that freshwater fish are the most popular pet in America? Cats and Dogs take second and third, but the majority of households have a fish swimming around inside!

Fish have a huge range of the care and responsibilities depending on the fish and the size of the aquarium, which is why they make such great pets for so many people.

Cute Hamster EatingSmall animals, such as hamsters, rats, and guinea pigs, range in how long they live, what size living space they need, and how often they want to socialize with their humans. Rats are not everyone’s first thought when it comes to cute and cuddly animals, but they make amazing pets!

Spending time around different animals can lead you to which ones fit your personality best. 

Here are a few of the questions to ask yourself before investing in your new animal:

  • Which pet is right for me?
    • How much space do I have to accommodate an animal?
    • How much upkeep am I willing to do?
    • How often do I have to feed my pet?
    • Do I want a snuggle buddy or an animal that likes to chill by itself?
    • When is the next time I plan to change my living arrangements (moving/new roommates)?
  • How much time do I have for a pet?
    • Does my work schedule realistically allow me to care for and properly socialize with my animal?
    • Do I have a super cool job that lets me take my dog to the office?
    • What does my free-time look like right now? How will it change?
    • Will having to scoop a litter box feel like a burden to my schedule?
  • Where will my pet eat/sleep/poop?
    • Where can they have space in my house/apartment/tiny home?
    • Where will their bed go (or will they share mine)?
    • What will I feed my pet? How much time am I willing to put into shopping for and preparing their meals?
  • Is this a realistic time in my life to get an animal?

Be upfront about the expectations you have for your pet and yourself! For example, if you're considering a fish tank, diving right into saltwater may be too advanced, but starting with a small freshwater tank can teach you the basics without overwhelming you. 

The Next Step

Once you are ready to take on the responsibility of a new pet, it is time to pick out which animal is the right fit for you!

When picking out an animal, be sure to consider living space requirements as well as a monthly budget for their food and supplies.

Meeting animals in person is always the best way to make your choice. You may love the idea of a Bearded Dragon online, but fall for a Guinea Pig in person.

Our super knowledgeable staff is happy to answer any questions and introduce you to some animals you may not have considered before!

Gathering Supplies

From there they will all have different requirements when it comes to the size of their territory and their dietary needs.

Need help picking out food for your animal? Check out our guide on how to read your pet's food label.

Pets On Broadway has care sheets for all of our animals, so you can have a list of their essentials, what they eat, and options for things like hides and accessories to take home with you. Download our dog shopping list for a comprehensive checklist of everything you will need!

Adopt--Don’t Shop!

Approximately 2.7 million cats and dogs are adopted in the United States each year, but over 7.6 million pets enter shelters. By adopting an animal, you are saving a life.

Little Girl Hugging PuppyYour perfect match is out there waiting for a home, whether it’s about finding the right animal for you and your family or searching for a specific breed. Many assume that you can only go through breeders to find these dogs, but there are a huge number of breed-specific rescues that can help you find the perfect fit and local shelters often have a huge variety of breeds available for adoption.

Shelters have a large mix of breeds, sizes, ages, and temperaments.  Did you know that mixed breed and “mutt” dogs often have fewer health issues than purebred dogs, as they have a more diverse gene pool?

We partner with the Multnomah County Animal Shelter to adopt out cats of all different ages and temperaments. We also have adoptable rabbits! You can always look at our adoptions page to see who is available!

Hermit CrabIf you are looking for a specific breed, age, or species of pet - oftentimes you can find breed-specific rescues. Did you know that there is even a hermit crab rescue here in Portland?! There is also a really great search engine called that allows you to browse your area for all kinds of adoptable animals, and you can narrow it down to exactly what you're looking for!

Deep Breaths

Being a new pet owner opens your world up to so many different experiences.

At times it can be scary or overwhelming to be responsible for your animal, but it is also one of the most rewarding partnerships you can ask for!

Pets enrich our lives through companionship and love, and they get us outside and involved in our communities in ways you can never expect.

Everyone remembers their first pet--they all hold a special place in our hearts. Whether it is our first hamster or seventeenth guppy, taking care of our animals is what makes us all "Pet People" in the first place!