The US is a pet-loving nation, with around 85 million households boasting a furry friend. If you’re thinking about joining the club and welcoming a new member of the family, here are some questions to ask yourself before you make a decision.
Do you have time for a pet?
This is one of the most important considerations to make before you decide whether or not to bring a pet into your home. When you become a pet owner, you assume responsibility for the care of your new cuddly companion, and this means devoting time to feeding them, making sure they have access to a comfy bed and clean water and providing love and affection. Some pets, for example, are more time-consuming than others. Dogs are sociable creatures and they love a fuss. You can’t leave a dog alone for hours on end, and most need to be walked daily. Cats are more self-sufficient and they tend to spend more time alone than dogs.
Are you prepared for the impact on your lifestyle?
Many people joke that having a pet is like having a child. While the parenting demands may not be quite as intensive, it is important to realize the potential impact of adding a pet to your household. If you’re used to getting away on the weekends, you work long hours, or you can’t bear the thought of your home being slightly messy, muddy or hairy, it’s probably not the best idea to get a pet at the moment.
Are you bringing a pet into a home with children or other animals?
There’s always a degree of uncertainty and unpredictability involved in welcoming pets to homes that already have furry or feathered inhabitants and mixing children with pets. If you have concerns or questions, it’s a good idea to use resources like blogs run by experts like Jennifer Perusek, to take tips from neighbors or family members who have done the same and to ask your vet for advice. Some pets fit in seamlessly, while others struggle to get on with other pets or cope with young children.
Can you afford a new pet?
Running a household can be expensive, and getting a pet of any type will add costs. Before you fall head over heels for a puppy, a bunny or a kitten, work out if you can afford to add a new family member. You’ll need to factor in the cost of food, insurance and veterinary bills. If you plan to take your dog to obedience classes, or you’re going to enlist the services of a dog walker or a daycare facility, you’ll also need to bear these costs in mind.
Many of us love the idea of getting a pet, but in reality, there is a lot of effort involved in tending to a new addition, and pets can be expensive. Before you make a decision, it’s wise to ensure you have the time, energy, enthusiasm and money available to provide a loving home and to think about how your new buddy would fit in with your lifestyle.