There are many reasons you might be considering pet ownership. You could be looking for companionship, wanting to show a child the joys and responsibilities that come with a pet, or maybe it is something you have wanted for many years and the time is finally right.
But before you come home with a new furry bundle of joy, make sure you understand all the commitments that come with sharing your home and life with an animal.
How much time are you prepared to spend with a pet. While some animals, like dogs, require a lot more of your attention than others, every animal is going to need some amount of daily attention. Even low maintenance goldfish need to be fed daily and have their tanks cleaned regularly. A dog requires almost constant attention. From walks and feedings to quiet time with petting and cuddles, a dog shouldn’t be left alone for more than a few hours at a time. Consider how much time you are willing to dedicate and then choose a pet based on this because it is one of the most important criteria.
For many pets, the financial commitment extends well beyond the cost of food and can run into the tens of thousands over the lifetime of the animal. Dogs, for instance, will require annual vet checkups and often need expensive medical treatments later in life. While the cost diminishes as the size of the pet shrinks, every pet will require medical treatments that can cost thousands of dollars.
Change in Lifestyle
Are you extremely career focused, buring the midnight oil at the office? Do you enjoy a busy social calendar and like to be the last to leave the party? Do you list travel as being something you love? If you answered yes to any of these, then you may not be ready for a pet. Pet sitters and professional dog walkers have become common but be considerate that your pet will want to spend time with you.
If you have never owned a pet before you might consider being tested for allergies. Rehoming a pet can be difficult, expensive, and stressful for the animal, but often separation is the only solution when severe allergies are discovered. It would be better to know beforehand if living with a cat or dog is going to leave you itchy-eyed and sneezing all the time.
This one mostly applies to dogs, but training is one of the most overlooked obligations people make. If you become a dog owner, whether it is a rescue or a puppy from a breeder, be prepared to take the dog to obedience training, and be prepared to learn a few things yourself. After all, as the saying goes, there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. If a dog doesn’t fit into it’s home, it’s not the dog that failed but the people that owned it.
Available Veterinary Care
Just like people do best with a regular doctor, domesticated animals need to have a dedicated vet that is familiar with their state of health and history. Whether you get a dog, cat, rat, or budgie, first make sure a vet who practices on the type of pet you are considering is available in your area. If you’re considering a more unique pet, a vet that specializes in that species may be difficult to find.
Picking the Right Pet
First, you should consider all the different domesticated species that are available. From small mammals like rabbits and hamsters to all the different breeds of dogs and cats, to the more unique pets like birds, reptiles and arachnids, there is a type of pet out there for everyone. This decision is usually an easy one to make, there aren’t too many people who are struggling to decide between a beagle and a boa constrictor. Chances are the hardest decision you will face is whether to or not to get a “rescue pet.” These are animals that have been seized by authorities or voluntarily turned over. Rescue animals have become hugely popular lately and for good reason, it’s a great choice. If you think a rescue might be right for you, look online for organizations in your area that specialize in the type of pet you are considering.
This post wasn’t meant to discourage you from becoming a pet owner. It should encourage you to do so because now that you are fully aware of the commitment you will need to make, you will be confident that you and your future pet will have a beautiful, stress-free life together.