A pet is a wonderful companion, but it’s also a big commitment. Before you take the plunge and get a dog, cat, fish, hamster, snake, whatever takes your fancy, make sure you do your research properly. It’s important to know exactly what care this new family member will need, how much that will cost and whether or not you have the appropriate space and time to give them the right home.
Take some time to evaluate the below questions to ensure that your home and your lifestyle are suitable for your animal of choice. You may be willing to make the changes necessary, and that’s great. It’s just about making sure that you are fully aware of what you’re committing to.
Why Are You Looking For A Pet?
Your reasons for getting a pet aren’t necessarily right or wrong, but knowing them will help you understand why you believe you are ready for this big step. Perhaps you are craving a companion, or you have children and you want them to learn about responsibility. You could be looking to adopt a special-needs dog or cat, and want to help alleviate some pain felt by shelter animals. These are all great reasons to get an animal.
If you want a pet for a status symbol or think it’ll be a good accessory for Instagram, that is not really a good reason to get a pet. This is something that you need to evaluate.
How Much Spare Time Do You Have?
Not all pets need the same amount of attention in their lives. If you lead a busy lifestyle, enjoy great games on laptops rather than walks and have erratic hours, a dog is definitely not the right pet for you right now. Cats are a lot more independent and can live quite happily on their own during the day, but will definitely prefer you to be around in the evenings and at least some of the weekend. If you know you don’t spend a lot of time at home, then something like a fish in a tank is a much better option.
How Much Can You Afford?
A pet is a long-term commitment. There can be some big costs up front, but that is definitely not the end of it. You need to have a monthly budget for food, grooming and toys, as well as an emergency budget for vet’s bills. It’s also a good idea to budget for expensive food rather than regular store brands when deciding if you can afford your desired pet. You never know if your one will have special dietary requirements.
There is also the cost of getting the pet to consider. If you’re looking at a pure-bred animal, they can be very expensive to buy. Rescuing a shelter animal is a lot cheaper because you are usually only expected to give a donation to the organization. However, you still need to get all the right equipment and comforts. For example, a puppy will need a lead, collar, bed, food and water bowls, treats, toys, training pads, and maybe even a jacket.