Getting a pet is a big decision, no matter what type of pet you want. By first considering your personal circumstances and the overall needs of the pet, you can decide what type of pet is most suitable, or even if you shouldn’t get a pet at all.
Are you lonely after a bad breakup? A pet can help, but it might just be an excuse when you need more serious help. Also consider the pet’s emotions – dogs and cats are especially sensitive to moods and have their own personalities, and if your personality will be at odds with your pet’s, it will not be a good relationship. Finally, pets do die, and can you emotionally handle bonding with an animal that you are certain to outlive?
Different cities and towns have laws about pets, and gated communities, apartments, and homeowner’s associations may have restrictions about types of pets. Some areas do not permit livestock animals such as goats or ducks, while others may limit certain dog breeds. Before you rush out to get a pet, check local laws to be sure you won’t be forced to give up your pet because of regulations.
Pets require ongoing care, and they don’t help pay bills. Check into the costs of a pet, including food, veterinary care, licenses, training, toys, and other accessories to see if you have the proper budget to give your pet everything it needs. Also bear in mind costs of pet boarding if you travel, or increased rent to cover pet deposits if necessary.
Some pets – such as fish or reptiles – need very little day-to-day care beyond feeding, but larger pets such as cats and dogs require more time. More energetic or hyperactive pets require more time interacting with their owners as well. Consider how much you are away from home for work, school, socializing, or other commitments to determine if you have enough time left to properly care for a pet.
Every pet is messy, but some are messier than others. Litter boxes, soiled papers, spilled food, shed fur, scattered toys, accidental chewing or clawing, and odor are all part of the mess a pet brings to your life. If you prefer a neat, clean home, you may prefer pets in cages or aquariums, but you still need to be prepared to clean up after your pet to keep it comfortable and healthy.
If you suffer from pet-related allergies, consider your discomfort and health before choosing any pet. Factor in the cost of allergy medication when budgeting for a pet, and also consider the allergies of anyone else in the family or otherwise close to you when deciding on a pet.
If you have children or want to have children, you need to consider a pet choice even more carefully. If a child is allergic to the pet, their symptoms can be more severe than those you might experience and could lead to other health complications. Young children also may not understand how to properly treat a pet and could be bitten or scratched, especially when both the child and pet are very young.
Pets need far more care than just feeding. No matter what type of pet you choose, you must be prepared to clean up after it, provide exercise and entertainment, train it properly, nurture it when it is sick, seek out proper veterinary care, groom it, and otherwise do everything you can to keep it happy, comfortable and healthy. If you are not prepared for that responsibility, it may be best not to get a pet at all.
Not every pet will be comfortable everywhere. Consider your local temperature and humidity, as well as the exact conditions in your home, when choosing what pet is best for you. Also consider other environmental factors, including precipitation, dangerous plants, and daylight levels to be sure your pet can be comfortable and well adjusted.
If you travel frequently for business or pleasure, you may not want a pet that requires a lot of care and attention. It can be costly to travel with a pet and not every hotel is pet-friendly, and the time you are away from home can cause your pet emotional and psychological stress that can lead to behavioral difficulties.
An open, unfenced yard on a busy street may be too dangerous for some types of pets, and hazards and obstacles inside your home can also be threatening. Just as parents need to child-proof their homes to protect their children, it is essential that pet owners take steps to safeguard their pets.
Even if you think you’re ready for a pet, you have to answer one question very honestly: Why do you want a pet? Kittens, puppies and other baby animals can be adorable, but they don’t look like that forever, nor will they always have the same curious, playful personality. Likewise, if you’re interested in a pet just because it’s popular or trendy, you may not be prepared to meet the animal’s needs.
A pet can bring great joy into your life, but if you aren’t ready for the responsibility of pet ownership, it is better to know before bringing it home. Considering the different factors of owning a pet and how it will affect your life is essential, but once you’ve carefully evaluated the decision, you can be confident that your new pet will be a welcome and happy part of your life.