We’re all animal lovers here, but sometimes we have to go without pets for a period of time due to life circumstances. It could be that you’ve just moved out of your childhood home and have started on your own life’s journey but don’t have the stability or living space to allow a pet. Or perhaps a beloved pet has passed, but you haven’t had the time or mental readiness to bring a new pet into your life. It could even be that you’ve never had a pet before, and you feel like it’s finally time to take the plunge into pet parenthood.
Are You Ready for a Pet?
Whatever the circumstance may be if you’re considering adding a new animal companion to your life, here are some things you should be thinking about before adopting a pet.
Before adopting a pet, you need to assess what your daily schedule is. Different pets require different amounts of attention and supervision, so how much time you have available to you every day is an important factor.
If you stay home most of the day, whether you are the primary caretaker of your children or you work from home, your options will be broader, though you should still take into account the free time you have each day and any other regular obligations you have. If you have a fairly flexible schedule and lots of free time, a dog could be right for you. If you tend to have a pretty busy schedule and don’t get much downtime, a more self-sufficient pet, like a cat, may be your best bet. If you work full time, but still have your heart set on a dog, assess if you can afford to hire a dog walker or enroll in a dog boarding facility to help you out during work hours.
Your Living Situation
Living situations tend to be one of the major hindrances to adopting a pet. Whether you rent or own your place, there can be many factors that keep you from getting a pet, such as rental restrictions or lack of space or amenities in your own home.
If you live in an apartment or small house with no access to a yard or fenced enclosure, it’s likely that having a dog will be at best difficult and at worst impossible. Dogs, especially large breeds, need lots of space to run around and get exercise, and unless you can commit to multiple walks a day, having a dog in an apartment or condo might prove stressful for both you and the dog. Small pets like cats do well in apartments and small spaces, as do rodents like gerbils and guinea pigs with cage enclosures. When you do get a pet, make sure that any plants you have indoor and outdoor are safe for pets, as many popular plants are poisonous to cats and other furry friends.
Whichever pet you decide to get, you need to make sure you have the budget for it. A pet is a serious commitment, and you need to make sure you can afford whatever comes at you for the entirety of your pet’s life. Things to consider in your budget for a pet is food, treats, toys, bedding, and vet care.
If you want the extra peace of mind, or if you get a pet or breed that tends to be susceptible to chronic illness or other genetic issues such as hip dysplasia, pet insurance will need to be considered into the monthly budget as well. Pet insurance can save you tens of thousands over the lifetime of your pet if they ever need emergency or long-term care, and it tends to cover the little things like regular vaccinations, dental cleanings, and yearly checkups as well.
Your Pet Preference
Even after you take into consideration all of the above, sometimes you just have a pet preference. You may only have the space for a cat, but you may be allergic, making owning one out of the question. You may have all the time in the world for a dog, but perhaps you like to keep an open schedule for last-minute day adventures. Whatever it is driving your pet preference, you still need to take certain things into consideration.
If all you’ve ever wanted is a dog, but you only have a small space, breed and size will be the main thing you consider. Large breeds do not do well in small spaces, and unless you can get them the energy-draining exercise they need, you will need to consider smaller breeds. Even some smaller breeds may have a high work drive, and lazing around the house in small quarters will not work for them. Adopting a pet from a shelter will typically give you a chance to read about their temperament and what kind of lifestyle they can live — be that couch dwelling or adventure seeking — and is a great way to give a homeless pet a loving family.
If you have your mind set on a pet of a specific breed, it’s important you seek out reputable breeders. A lot of the chronic health issues you see associated with certain breeds of cats and dogs are a result of years of unregulated backyard breeding. A reputable breeder will have screened their animals for these health issues to try and weed out the likelihood of these issues occurring in their line.
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