The decision to bring a dog into your home is not one that should be taken lightly. As a multi-year decision that will alter your life and the animal’s life, it is important to take your time and find the right dog for you. Union Lake Pet Services has created a Pre-Pet Counseling service that will help you find a pet that will fit seamlessly into your life. 

Our goal is to help you consider the many factors, including age, breed characteristics, responsibilities, environment, etc., so that both you and your new dog will be happy together. We also hope to prevent dogs from being dropped at the shelter because they aren’t a good fit.

Pre-Pet Counseling Process

Pre-Pet Counseling starts with a questionnaire for you to complete before coming in. We ask several questions about you and your lifestyle. The next step is a 1-hour consultation to zero in on the best options. Even if you’re planning to adopt a mutt, the consultation adds value as we talk through what type of mutt might best fit you and your family. A few items we can consider:

Breed Characteristics

If you’re purchasing or adopting, we will want to consider breed characteristics of dogs you’re considering. We want to make sure you’re fully aware of breed personalities, behavior tendencies, and likely health issues. Are you okay with these? If not, we’ll help you consider other options that would be a better fit.  

Lifestyle Considerations

An important factor when thinking about welcoming a pet into your home is your lifestyle. If you have an active household and the time to devote to an animal, you might want to consider a puppy or kitten. If you prefer a slower lifestyle, a senior pet might be a better option for you. 

Are you very active and could easily ensure a pet gets enough exercise? Do you prefer to stay at home and cuddle on the couch? Do you spend a lot of time traveling outside of the house? All of these factors can affect the type of pet you should bring home.

Spatial Restrictions

Your living space is one of the most important factors to consider when thinking about getting a pet. If you live in a small apartment and aren’t home all the time, you might want to consider a small dog. If you have a big house with a great outdoor area, a larger dog that needs a lot of exercise could be your ideal companion. Think about how an animal can fit into your space as well as your activity level to decide what kind of pet you should take home. You should also look into local laws (or housing restrictions) that could affect your ability to keep a pet in your house. 

Financial Responsibility

Owning a dog requires a certain financial commitment. Before you bring an animal into your home, you should determine if pet care costs fit into your budget. Some breeds and dogs will cost more to own. You can expect some of the following costs for owning a pet:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Socialization
  • Boarding
  • Training and possibly behavior assistance
  • Veterinary care
  • Exercise
  • Grooming

If you cannot comfortably set aside money every month for pet care expenses, you might want to wait until you can comfortably budget for them. 

Other Pets

If you are already a pet owner, think about the animals you currently have and their needs before bringing home a new one. Does your current pet do well in social situations? Do they require extra training before they can get used to being a pet sibling? These are important questions to ask before you make the commitment of getting a new pet. You do not want to create an uncomfortable environment for either animal. 


Getting a pet for a child can be a rewarding experience for everyone, but it can also create a bad situation if you do not take the time to do it well. It is important for children to understand how to properly care for (and interact with) an animal before you bring one home. Teaching your children how to act around animals can keep everyone safe. 

We not only can help you choose the type of dog that is a good fit for you but can advise ways to address or avoid known health, lifestyle, or behavior issues. Ask us about our new Pre-Pet Counseling services. We look forward to working with you to find the perfect dog for you. 

After you bring your new pet home, Union Lake Pet Services is here to help you integrate them into your lives. With our training, grooming, daycare, and boarding services, we help your pets adjust to life with you. Call (248) 363-6262 to learn more.