Getting a pet can be the best thing you can do; it offers companionship, helps with exercise, and they really can become a true part of the family. However, there is a lot to consider before you bring your pet into your home and your life, and it’s essential that you carry out all the research necessary before you make that step and take responsibility for one. To help you, here are some of the main considerations to make before getting a pet.
Can You Commit?
Some pets need more commitment than others. A dog, for example, will need a lot of commitment. They will need to be walked two or maybe three times a day (this will depend on the breed, their age, and how active they are), and they can’t be left alone for hours at a time. Can you spare the time to play with your cat and keep them entertained? Will you be able to clean out your gerbil’s cage or the fish tank?
If the answer is no, then now might not be the best time to get a pet, no matter how much you want one. Wait until you can really commit and you and the animal in question will be much happier.
What About Money?
You might not have to spend a lot of money on the pet itself, especially if it is a rescue animal, but buying a dog, cat, or anything else isn’t the last time you’re going to need to spend money.
Pet food is perhaps the biggest consideration. Do some research into the kind of food your pet will need to eat and work out the budget for it. Remember that animals shouldn’t be given the same food as humans as it can upset their digestive systems, so they will need their own food.
There are other costs too, such as vet bills. These can really mount up, and you have to consider is having pet insurance worth the outlay? The reality is that insuring your pet is a cost that is absolutely necessary unless you want to pay out hundreds or even thousands of dollars if they are unwell or have an accident.
As well as a time commitment, pets require a financial commitment, so check your budget when considering bringing an animal home.
Is Your Home Pet-Friendly?
Before you buy or adopt a pet, you will need to take a look at your home; is it pet-friendly? At first glance, the answer might be a yes, but you do need to look deeper, just to be sure. There are many everyday items that could innocently be lying around your home that a pet would find dangerous. For example:
- Chewing gum can be fatal to dogs
- Ibuprofen can be dangerous for cats
- Chocolate cannot be eaten by dogs
- Lilies are toxic for cats
Check out what your new pet can and can’t be near and ensure you either remove it, or put it somewhere they can’t get to it.
While you’re checking around, you should also look at your yard, particularly if you’re buying a dog. Can they escape or are they safe and secure in there? You may need a new fence or gate, and this will need to be done before your pet comes home.
Will You Train Your Pet?
Of course, not all pets need training – rodents in cages can happily manage without. Dogs, however, perhaps most of all animals, will need to be trained if you want them to live happily amongst your family and in your home.
Training a pet takes time and patience, and is something else you will need to commit to. You might join in with training classes, or you can hire someone to work with your pet on your behalf. Alternatively, you might want to do it yourself. However it is done, training is crucial if you want a well-behaved pet. If your ultimate goal is to walk your dog off-lead then you will need to begin with loose leash walking.
Will You Get Them Neutered?
If you get a younger animal such as a kitten or a puppy, you will need to make a choice as to whether you get them neutered or not. Some people have very definite opinions either way, and others are more on the fence about it.
You should make your decision before you get your pet, and whichever choice you make you will need to weigh up the pros and cons. For the sake of the pet, it is generally advised to have them neutered; it will save them having many litters which can be harmful, and it can prevent some cancers too. Plus, it will usually make a male dog more friendly.