Bringing a pet home is synonymous with introducing a new member to the family. As such, you'll want to make sure the chemistry is there and that the new dynamics work. Not having a complete understanding of what pet ownership entails can end in stress and frustration for both you and the pet you've just taken custody of. To help you decide on a pet that fits your family, here are six things you should know about:
Can You Put in the Time and Effort?
Cats tend to be lower maintenance than their canine counterpart, but even then you need to make sure they have food, water, and shelter at the very least. Dogs will require more outdoor time and socialization hence requiring more time and effort from their respective owner/s. Note that different dog breeds have different energy levels and temperaments. Sit down and have a realistic assessment of your ability to commit to this life-changing decision. Dogs and cats can live up to 16 years, some even longer. Are you ready to take on that kind of long-term commitment?
Can You Accommodate Pets With Special Needs?
As mentioned earlier, animals have different temperaments and personalities. They also have gone through different life experiences and traumatic moments. Some will require consistent and perhaps even professional training before they can be reliably brought outside to dog parks and social functions. Can your family accommodate an animal with special needs? Can they handle a 100-lb Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy? Or should you stick with dogs that are easier to train or don't have issues you'll need to deal with?
Can You Deal With the Expenses?
Pet ownership is more expensive than most people think. Food alone can cost you upwards of $100 per month, depending on your pet's size, frequency of feeding, and brand of food. On top of that, you have to pay for grooming services, veterinary checkups, medication, surgical treatment, and boarding/dog walking services when you're out of town or unavailable to care for them. And then there are adoption costs when you do decide to adopt one. Adopting centers may charge you anywhere between $50 to $500.
Can Your Place Accommodate a Pet?
Pets need space to thrive. Being locked up in a crate 24/7 can lead to physical and mental issues over time. Although you don't need a big backyard or a private room for them, your pet/s should have enough room to be able to walk around freely and interact with their environment. Aside from lack of space, you should also consider if anyone in the house is allergic to dogs/cats. An allergic reaction to furry critters may limit your choices as to what species or breed of pet you can get or if you can get one at all. Families expecting a child might also be incompatible for pet ownership since newborns are still very fragile, particularly their immune system, not to mention the spike in workload.
Does Your Lifestyle Fit With Pet Ownership?
Families who travel a lot may find their trips restricted once they get a pet, especially a needy one. Moreover, if you're more of a homebody and don't want to go out on your days off from work, an active puppy might not be the most suitable option. Fortunately, domestic pets come in all shapes and sizes and there are choices for both indoor and outdoor pet owners.
Can You Deal With the Loss of a Pet?
The loss of a pet is no easy conversation, but it's an inevitable one that you'll need to have with your family when the time comes. You'll need to be prepared on how to deal with the loss of a pet in a healthy way. For families with children, be honest when the time comes. Whipping up a story may protect him/her for some time, but being straightforward is a better approach that will help them cope and heal faster.
Having a pet is a huge, ongoing responsibility. But it can also have a positively life-changing impact on your family's life. Pets show unconditional love and affection and will help make moments a hundred times richer. Over time, you'll need them as much as they need you.
Read more about the author