PEOPLE Pet Vet Evan Antin has some important advice for everyone ahead of April 30

By Kelli Bender
April 30, 2017 02:00 PM

Many don’t think about getting a vet’s advice before adopting a shelter pet, but doctors have important information for you.

To help you be fully prepare for your new furry arrival on Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, we talked to our PEOPLE Pet Vet Dr. Evan Antin about what you need to do and know before you adopt a cat, dog or other critter into your family.

Don’t give a pet as a surprise gift: Even though the idea of a puppy in a bow may seem cute, adopting a pet is decision the whole family should be a part of and a choice that everyone should have time to prepare for. “The big reasons why I wouldn’t recommend it is that every animal— cat dog bird, reptiles — they all require certain care and knowledge on how to care for them. If someone isn’t expecting it, they probably aren’t aware of that, either,” Dr. Antin said.

RELATED VIDEO: People Pet Vet Evan Antin Introduces Us To His Own Furry Friends!

Don’t doubt shelters: Some people hold back on adopting a pet, because they believe that the animals at shelters are damaged or won’t fit the profile they are looking for. This simply isn’t true. “I’m a huge ‘adopt don’t shop’ type. There are so many animals that need homes that don’t have them,” Dr. Antin shared. “There are even a lot of exotics rescues that have the animals you’ll see in pet shops. So pet shops are not the first place I’d shop for a pet.”

Ready your abode: “Dogs, especially young dogs, you have to puppy proof — make sure they can’t get into foods, pantries, little toys. Lock up leather purses, belts and shoes, because a lot of puppies like to chew on expensive stuff like that. It’s a lot of trial and error.” Think of it as readying your home for a new family member you want to make comfortable.

Bring the whole family: Your new pet is going to be with you a long time, so you should “definitely” make sure everyone feels it is the right decision, Antin said. Having everyone in your home meet your prospective pet prior to adoption ensures that everyone knows it is a good fit — your new pet included.