Animals can add a lot of enrichment to your life but only if you have the means to properly care for them and to make sure that their own life is enriched by living in your home as well.
To get the most out of pet ownership, it’s beneficial to consider some very important points before you bring a new animal home. Here are four questions to help you figure out whether it’s the right time for you to get a pet.
1) Can I commit to the responsibility of pet ownership?
Pet ownership is no walk in the park, even if it does involve taking your new pet out for walks in the park. It’s a big responsibility that requires many years of commitment. Your pet will depend on you for their health, safety, and overall well-being, which means that you’ll have to make sure they always have everything they need. Regular trips to the vet need to be a high priority for any pet owner as well.
2) Do I have the financial means to take care of a pet?
Some pets are more affordable than others, but taking care of any pet is rarely cheap. Even the smallest rodents and birds require cages of proper sizes and quality. The bigger the pet, the more you’ll find yourself spending on food. Toys and grooming items factor into the cost of pet ownership as well. Vet checkups can also be pretty pricey, as can the cost of veterinary care for injury or illness. Pet insurance is an additional cost and, though highly recommended, does not cover all possible injuries or illnesses.
3) Is my home pet-safe and pet-friendly?
Before you give any further serious thought to getting a pet, make sure that your living arrangement will actually allow for one. Many apartment buildings and condo boards have limits on the types and numbers of pets allowed. Your accommodations will also need to be safe for your new pet, as prying paws can get into a lot of trouble. Items such as cleaners and medications should be kept either on high shelves or behind childproof latches. Make sure all trash cans are covered to prevent large messes, and take the time to close up any small nooks and crannies where your pet might get stuck.
4) Do I have time for a pet?
Finally, your new pet will require a time commitment. While pet ownership does not preclude you from living a normal life, it does need to factor into your daily plans and routine. Dogs, for example, need to be walked at least once a day. Cats, though they have a reputation for being solitary creatures, do enjoy company and will get lonely if left alone for long periods of time. Even smaller animals need to be regularly attended to. If you spend most of your time out of the home or if you have an irregular schedule, then getting a pet might not be the best option right now.
When done right, pet ownership has benefits both for humans and for their furry or feathery friends. Make sure you have the capability to give your pet a good home and a happy life, and the love and loyalty you receive in return will make all of your efforts and commitment worthwhile.