A new pet is a welcome addition to any home living situation and can truly transform a house into a home. Pets quickly become important members of a family, and it fast becomes the case where you cannot imagine life without them.
However, regardless of the abundant positives that come with getting a pet, often, your home life or lifestyle isn’t ready or well equipped for the new addition. That’s why it’s imperative to put a lot of thought into the situation before getting a pet. When it comes to a furry addition to the family, you should never act on impulse.
It’s vital for the health and welfare of both the pet and your family that you do your research, spend time planning and be prepared to make a difficult choice if your lifestyle simply isn’t equipped for a pet at this moment in time. You can always take steps to change your home or lifestyle to make it ready for getting a pet and then make the decision to get one in the future.
So what should you consider when deciding on getting a pet?
Which Pet is Right for You?
You may have always known what kind of pet you want, or perhaps you’re unsure which would work best for you. It’s essential that you analyze your situation to find the best fit. Even if you have always dreamed of a dog, for example, if you don’t have the space or the means to look after it properly, a less demanding pet may be the better choice.
The most common domestic pets are as follows:
However, there any many variations of different pets which may appeal to you more, such as:
- Bearded dragons or other lizards
- Llamas and alpacas
The latter is more suitable for individuals who live in the country and who have ample space for pets which need to live outside or in a stable or barn.
You should also consider the type of pet in regards to its origins and personal situation. Many people prefer adopting pets from shelters, or pets which are looking for a new home at later stages in their life, or you may prefer the option of buying a pet from the day it is born and raising it its entire life.
For instance, there are specialized breeders of certain dog breeds, such as Snowy Pines White Labs, who supply white Labradors. Selecting a breeder can be the preferred choice if you are looking for a specific breed of animal, down to color and sex.
Knowing the breed or type which is right for you should be the result of plenty of research. There may be types of animal which display specific characteristics and would be a better fit your lifestyle.
In relation to cats and dogs, certain breeds may be more amiable towards a family household with small children compared to breeds which are known for being more suitable for individuals living alone or are difficult to handle.
What Do You Want from a Pet?
Fully understanding your reasons for getting a pet, and the benefits you want to gain from having one will help you to decide the most suitable option.
- Do you want a pet that will help you to be more active, lose weight and look after your health, such as a dog you can walk every day?
- Do you prefer pets that are more independent and demand less from you, such as cats?
- Do you want a pet you can physically handle, such as cuddling, like a rabbit, dog, or cat? Or would you prefer options which stay mainly in a tank, such as fishes or lizards?
- Do you want a pet as a companion for a family member, such as your child? And if so, what would be most manageable for your child to take care of?
As well as understanding what you want before getting a pet, it’s also important to appreciate that it isn’t just about what you need on a whim. You may like the idea of having a cuddly pet who can spend time with you on the couch watching television, but are you prepared for all the other demands, such as its personal care? Are you prepared to clean out a large tank on a regular basis for a pet you thought would be minimal demand?
Know what you want from a pet, but also know what they will need from you in return.
How Will a Pet Best Fit into Your Lifestyle?
Analyzing your home and work routine is essential when deciding on a pet. You need to understand the routine your pet will need in order to know whether it is suitable for the demands of your life.
You should thoroughly research the requirements of any pets you have in mind. This should include:
- How often they need feeding, and at what times
- How often they need cleaning
- Whether they need physical exercise, and to be let out of the house at certain times of the day
- Whether they can be left alone for long periods
- Whether they thrive off company and will suffer from separation anxiety when you leave the house
If you work away from home from the early hours until late evening, for example, you shouldn’t get a pet who needs walking or feeding in the middle of the day, such as a dog.
You should also consider the demands of your job and life and unprecedented events, such as the possibility of being called away on business and needing to stay overnight somewhere, or personal relationships which may call you away from home at certain times.
Your social life should also be taken into account, as having a pet requires a sacrifice of certain freedoms, such as being able to book spontaneous trips away, stay out late or go out at certain times of the day.
Are you willing to change your social patterns for the right pet?
However, if your lifestyle doesn’t strictly suit the routine of a specific pet, there are ways you can work around the situation, such as employing a dog walker to exercise your pet while you are out at work, or asking a friend or family member to check in on your pet when needed – or even completely look after them while you are working or away from home.
It all depends on what you are willing to do and how you can best do so in a way that doesn’t compromise the proper care of the pet.
Is Your Home Prepared for a Pet?
Different varieties of pets require different things from your home. They may need a large amount of indoor space, outdoor space such as a garden or yard, a specific temperature or humidity, or a quiet environment.
You should also consider the right amount of space for your pet’s belongings and whether you have an adequate room or spot for your pet to either sleep or for their home such as a tank or cage to be positioned properly.
However, it’s not just about what your pet needs from your home. It’s also about what you should expect from a pet in regards to your home. This includes potential damage to your property, as is common with puppies and kittens. It’s also the acceptance that your home may not look or smell the same, especially with the case of indoor cages or tanks, which may emit certain scents, sounds, and lights.
If you are in a rental property, it’s also important to double-check your rental agreement or check with the property owner regarding the policy on pets. Some rental agreements state that under absolutely no circumstances is a pet allowed, others may say it is negotiable, and some may say it’s completely fine – or may be accepted with an extra fee added to the rent.
In regards to a rental property, it’s also important to consider potential damage as previously mentioned. If you decide to get a destructive puppy, you should be prepared to pay damage costs to your property if the need arises.
Is Your Budget Prepared for a Pet?
Getting a pet can be very expensive. How much so depends entirely on the type of pet and its lifestyle, as well as the quality of care you’re willing to give. For instance, you can invest in more expensive food if that is your preference, but budget or mainstream food is also suitable – it’s all about how much you’re willing to pay.
In the first instance, you need to know how much the pet you want is going to cost. You can pick up small pets from pet stores for relatively cheap, but if you’re looking for a larger pet or a pedigree breed of dog, you will be looking at substantially more money. Your budget should always be taken into account when choosing your pet. If you have your heart and mind set on a particular animal, ensure you save up for exactly the amount you need – or be prepared to accept that you might not be able to afford the pet you want.
Nevertheless, it isn’t only about the initial payment. It’s also about the financial requirements throughout your pet’s life. This includes:
- Medical bills, covering initial treatments such as vaccinations, top-up vaccinations and also unprecedented events or emergencies where your pet may need treatment or surgery
- Pet insurance
- Food bills
- Extra items, such as toys, leads or harnesses
- Their living requirements, such as whether they need a cage or tank, and what is needed to regulate this
It’s important to choose a good veterinarian and stick with the same vet for the life of the animal.
Getting a pet isn’t just about what makes you feel happy and what you can imagine might make you look cool or more interesting. It’s about which pet fits best in not only your current lifestyle but any future plans you may have, too – especially in the cases of those pets with significantly long lifespans.
You should fully take into account the wellbeing of any animal you’re considering, and analyze in an honest way whether you can fully provide everything the animal might want and need.
You also need to make sure you can comfortably afford the animal you choose, and never risk investing in a pet which will leave you with no spare cash and struggling to pay bills.
Once you have considered all your options and made the right decision, getting a pet can truly be a wonderful addition to any home and family.