If you’re an animal lover, it can only be natural to think about bringing home a little bundle of fur at some point in your life. Having pets is a great way to enhance your life, bring more happiness to your home, and have lots of fun, but only if you are fully prepared for the responsibility.
Looking after pets, particularly dogs and cats is a serious and lifelong commitment, and it is not something that you should jump into without really thinking it through. With that in mind, here are a few important things to consider before you bring a pet into your life:
Can you afford it?
Many people when thinking of getting a pet, think of how much fun it will be to walk their dog or how nice it will be to have a kitten to be their special new companion without ever really thinking about the financial side of pet ownership. This is how so many people end up with pets that they cannot adequately care for.
Food, insurance, vet bills, medication, treats, and toys: the cost of pet ownership can really add up, and if you can’t afford them, your pet may suffer as a result. So please, before you buy a pet, check out the full financial implications.
Is your home suitable?
Unfortunately, we don’t all live in homes that are suitable for the pets we would like. For example, it would be unfair to keep a great dane cooped up in a studio flat, or it may not be safe to keep a cat when you live on a busy main road.
There’s also the fact to consider that although pet rental is becoming more common, a lot of landlords still do not want pets in their properties. Animals need safe and secure homes, and if you cannot provide one, now may not be the time to get one.
What kind of pet will fit in with your lifestyle?
When you bring a pet into your life, you are responsible for its wellbeing, and that means you will need to take care of its basic needs each and every day. As a result, it is really vital that you take the time to consider whether your lifestyle and the animal’s lifestyle will work in harmony.
For example, if you are out of the house for 9 hours or more each day, it would be unfair to bring a puppy, who needs lots of care and attention, into your home or if you aren’t able to walk far, getting a greyhound that needs a lot of exercises would not be the best idea.
Pets like hamsters and tropical fish are often better for people with busy lifestyles, but they still need quite a bit of care and attention so never think of any pet as being an easy option.
Are you willing to accept the disruption?
Obviously, this isn’t true of all pets, but animals like cats and dogs can completely change the way you live your life, how clean your house is and when you can and cannot go out or go on holiday, for example. If you are unwilling to accept having to clean up dog hair each day or not being able to simply nip off for a weekend away without planning it in advance, then pet ownership may not be for you.
Do you have a pet sitter?
If you need to go away, you need to know that your pet will be left in capable hands. Ask yourself if you have someone in your life who will be willing to take on pet care when you’re away or if you have enough funds to board them safely, and if you do not, it may not be appropriate to have a pet in your life right now.
Are you patient?
Training a new pet and helping them to settle in can be time-consuming and frequently frustrating. If you aren’t the patient type, you may find it really hard to do these things effectively and you will all struggle to get used to having an animal in your lives as a result, so think very carefully.
No one should ever bring a pet into their life without carefully considering it from every angle. These questions will help you determine whether you would make a good pet owner or not right now. Answer them honestly, and neither you nor your potential pets will suffer because you haven’t given the decision enough thought.