So, You Want a Pet

Many couples, families, or even single people often think about getting a pet. To be quite honest, I am one of those people. There are many different kinds of pets that you can get and many places to get one. I hope this post enlightens you about adopting a pet, especially the right one for you (and your family).

The popular choices are always cats and dogs. There’s nothing like coming home to a dog that greets you at the door, possibly bouncing up and down in excitement, its tail wagging furiously. Perhaps you’re more of a cat person and enjoy watching your feline friend lounge in their favorite spot. Whatever your preference is, there are things that you should take into consideration:

What is your living situation? (Do you rent or own? How big is the apartment, house?)

Where are you going to keep your pet (roaming free or in a kennel when you’re not home?)

What is your lifestyle like? (Sedentary, somewhat active, or quite active?)

What is your budget like? (Do you have loans or other expenses that need to be paid off?)

How much free time do you have? (Your pet needs attention and stimulation.)

Do you know what to expect? (In better words, have you done your research?)

These are important because some people will get a pet on a whim or as a gift. While the intention is probably pure, it’s not in anyone’s best interest to get a pet without doing their homework. It is also never a good idea to give a pet as a gift if you are not sure that person is going to be 100% responsible for them. During Christmas, many people give pets as a gift and within a few months they end up in a shelter or worse, abandoned or dead.

If you rent, you need to consider many things: do you live with other people like roommates? Are there other people in the building with you? Do you think there might be problems with getting a dog if it barks? What do you intent to do in that situation? Have you spoken to your landlord about the pet and listened to their concerns? Are you willing to lose your damage deposit because of your pet? (Some pets, when left alone, get bored and damage things.) How big is the apartment/house, etc. that you are renting? Is there a park nearby for your dog? How will you let them out for the bathroom? Are you planning to move at all in the future? If you are, will you look for another place that allows you to keep your pet? Finding places to rent that are pet friendly are not always easy to find and it takes a lot of time to look for them. I know, because I used to have a dog and now I currently own a rabbit. It took me months to find a place that was dog friendly and almost just as long to find a place that would let me have a rabbit.

If you own the house, how big is it? Do you think there’s enough room for your pet to move around freely and easily? Is there a yard for dog/cat to run around? How do the other family members feel about a pet? Are they going to help take care of it? Luckily, when you own your home there are less things to be concerned about when it comes to people living below or down the hall from you. However, if you live in a condo/townhouse you still have to get your pet approved by the condo board. If there are noise issues, then you will have to get them sorted out with your neighbors as well.

Another important thing to consider is where you are going to keep your pet. Are you going to leave them in their kennel/cage when you’re not home or are you going to let them have free reign? How long will your pet be home alone? The less time they are alone, the better!

Your lifestyle is also important because if you are sedentary, it’s probably best to get an animal that doesn’t need a lot of exercise. For example, with a rabbit, you can let them out in their x-pen so they can run around. They don’t need to go for walks and they clean themselves, so they don’t need to be bathed. If you had a high-energy dog like a border collie, you’d have to be pretty active to keep your dog happy and stimulated so they don’t get bored and chew things. Your lifestyle will help you choose the right pet. If you aren’t sure, you can always research different breeds or kinds of pets for your lifestyle type.

Having a pet is going to cost money. You have to keep in mind that there are going to be vet trips every year and you have to plan for emergency trips to the vet. You never know when your dog will need immediate care or if they are going to get sick. It’s important to research the average costs per month for the type of pet you are considering so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that a pet is within your budget. Another recommendation I have is researching pet insurance, this will help you in the long run with vet costs if your beloved pet happens to get sick.

Time can also tie in with your lifestyle as well, but it’s not always the case. How much free time do you have if you work from home? All pets need attention and stimulation, the more the better. Please do not get a pet and ignore the fact that they need to something to do to keep them from getting bored. If they get bored, they may destroy furniture, shoes, or even clothing. It’s important that you find toys for them as well as play with them and even train them.

The last point that I’d like to stress is research. It’s important to do a lot of research on the type of pet you want. Many people believe that rabbits are good “starter” pets for children, but this is not the case for many kids. Some children do not understand what responsibility is and they may grow tired of their pet and neglect it. It’s important that you find a pet best suited for the primary caregiver as well as do research on what to expect. Is a border collie’s temperament better suited to your lifestyle than a Pomeranian? Is a bird easier to take care of than a cat?

Pets are great to have in your home especially since they become part of your family. Just like family, you wouldn’t abandon your mother or grandfather just because they are old, so please consider the lifespan of your pet as they can live anywhere between 8-13 years (or longer!) If you still want to get a pet, please look at adopting from your local animal shelters. They can help you find one suited to your personality, living situation, and lifestyle. I wish you the best of luck in finding your new fur-baby!

Eren Wiebe is a blogger at sakuradaisuki, writer, editor, figure skater, amateur photographer, and mom to her fur baby, Piko.