Considering getting a pet? You’re not alone! The vast majority of households tend to have at least one pet – and for good reason. Pets become a member of the family, faithful companions and treasured within the household. But it is important that you think this through thoroughly before going ahead. First and foremost, it’s important to stress that pets are not a novelty. Often, people get pets because their little ones request them. But children’s interests can be fleeting and, ultimately, the pet will be your responsibility. You need to ensure that you can provide your pet with everything it needs to live a full, happy and healthy life. Here are some things to take into consideration before buying or adopting any creature.
One of the main things you have to bear in mind before getting any pet is the costs involved. All too many people get pets without setting out a budget, determining whether they can financially provide for the pet and then find that they have to give the pet up for adoption later down the line. Remember that buying a pet isn’t the only cost involved. They’re living and sentient beings with needs that you become responsible for. Here are some that you might want to take into consideration.
Basic Veterinary Care
All animals will require some basic veterinary care. Often, this isn’t covered by insurance policies, as it’s simply considered part and parcel of having a pet in the first place. Some basic costs include annual check ups, neutering, microchipping, routine vaccinations and more. Make sure to remember that you never know if your pet may have specific health conditions too. You may find that you need to fork out for specialist foods or treatments for conditions such as allergies or anxiety.
Another major investment you need to make for your pet is pet insurance. While this isn’t a legal requirement, it’s something that every pet owner should take out. The majority of animals will require veterinary assistance, treatment or care at some point or another in their lives and you need to make sure that you can cover the costs. Of course, for larger treatments, many people wouldn’t necessarily have the thousands required to foot a bill with no notice. This is where insurance comes in. It ensures that your pet can have whatever treatment they need and that you only fork out a monthly policy premium and (sometimes) a percentage of the treatment instead. This ensures that you can provide for your pet in emergency situations.
All pets need food. Some pets’ food is more costly than others. Food for popular pets, such as cats and dogs, is largely widely available and relatively affordable. Food for less common pets with more specific needs, such as reptiles, may be more costly and you may have to invest in storage facilities, such as extra freezers, for them.
Not all pets require grooming, but those that need grooming do need to be groomed on a regular basis. Generally, the most commonly groomed pets tend to be dogs – especially those that are non-molting. If your dog is short haired and malts, chances are you can give them baths yourself, which simply involves investing in some dog shampoo. However, if you opt for a breed with long or curly fur, you’re going to find that professional grooming is a requirement to keep them cool, comfortable and healthy. Grooming costs will largely differ depending on the size and breed of your dog, how regularly you get them groomed and how experienced the groomers you choose are.
Costs aren’t the only factor entailed in getting a pet. You also need to make sure that you have the time for the pet you choose too. Some pets are more dependent than others and will require more time and attention to be happy. Some breeds of dog are hugely independent and will be fine home while you go to work for eight hours a day. Some breeds of dog have more separation anxiety and can only be left for short periods of time when absolutely necessary. While cats are generally independent in terms of spending time with you or not, some do still love time and attention for play.
You also need to take space into account. Some pets simply require more room than others and some will require outdoor space to play in too! While a cat may be comfortable in a studio apartment, a Great Dane won’t be. Reptiles require large tanks that you may need to dedicate an entire room to. Make sure to thoroughly assess the space you have available before choosing any pet.
See How Your Family Interact with Your Chosen Animal
You need to get a pet who fits in well with your whole family. You may love snakes, but if a member of your household has a phobia, this isn’t the pet for you. You might love cats, but if someone has an allergy, you may need to look into hairless cats or a different pet altogether. Spend some time seeing your family react with different animals. Take them to petting zoos. Visit exhibitions like The Supreme Cat Show or Crufts. This will ensure that everyone is comfortable around the animal and happy with the decision.
If possible, you should try to adopt a pet rather than buying a baby pet. Why? Well, there are countless animals out there right now who already need a loving home. Adoption can feel like a long process, but it’s more than worth giving an animal in need somewhere to live. They’ll become just as much a part of your family as any other puppy, kitten or other pet.
As you can see, there’s a whole lot to take into consideration before bringing a pet into your home – and this is just the beginning! Hopefully, some of the pointers above will give you food for thought and help you to make the right decision for you, your family and your potential pet.