Having a pet to come home to is one of the greatest joys in life. However, before you go out and get that cute furry friend, it’s important to make sure you are ready for the commitment. Pet ownership is as much responsibility as it is endlessly rewarding. For the sake of the animal, make sure you are prepared for all aspects.
Excuse Me, but You Have Some Hair on Your Coat…
Unless you plan on a hairless breed, animals are hairy and after bringing one into your home, you will find pet hair in the weirdest places. If you have no desire to find random stray hair on your clothes, in your coffee, or stuck in your keyboard, then getting a breed that has as long coat might not be the best choice right now.
What Is That Smell?
Have you ever visited a friend who said they cleaned before you came over, but their place still smells like dog? Regardless of what type of animal, all pets come with an accompanying odor that will pervade your space. Bottom line – you should be OK with your place taking on a new smell.
Please Tell Me It’s Not on the Carpet…
Before bringing a pet home, consider their potty requirements and your willingness to deal with it. If the thought of animal accidents on the floor gives you the chills, consider that potty training is the time when most accidents happen and even trained pets have days they simply cannot hold it. For those of you in love with the idea of avoiding potty training by getting a caged pet such as a bird, remember that cleaning their cages is an important routine.
Are You a Neat Freak or Despise Sweeping?
Think of your average cleaning habits and consider if you are responsible enough to handle the extra mess around the house. If you sweep daily or even weekly, you’re probably OK, but if you sweep monthly, you may be in for more cleaning than you like. Besides stray hairs, pets create the same messes you do, albeit on a smaller scale. Wiping muddy paw prints, sweeping food bits off the floor, and extra laundry are all common chores for pet owners.
Bring on the Messes, but Do You Have the Time?
All animals need regular feedings, fresh water, grooming, and cleaning regardless of whether they live on your couch or in a tank on your coffee table. If you work 5 days a week at a solid 8 or more hours and the only thing you want to do at home is nothing, then you may need to adjust your attitude and prepare to come home with more energy for your pet.
Don’t forget to consider vacation time, weekend outings or any other reason you might be away longer than usual. Rental tip: if you are in good with your neighbors, they might help with daily potty breaks, but if you don’t talk to a soul, you’re on your own.
Can You Afford a Furry or Scaly Friend?
Besides the lifelong commitment of buying food and paying shelter costs for your pet, the initial veterinary cost can come as quite a shock to new pet owners. Shots, office visits, dental, illnesses and meds quickly add up in the first year, and even caged pets require occasional medications, fresh bedding, habitats and decorations. Calculate the initial costs and the lifelong costs of pet ownership and see if it fits on your budget. Rental tip: many rentals charge a monthly pet fee so don’t forget to talk with your landlord.
Unexpected Things to Consider
One mistake pet owners make is assuming they have no allergies to pets. Another mistake is assuming their friends and family have no allergies to pets and everyone will still visit as usual. Before making this mistake, think of your regular visitors, do any of them have allergies? If so, you might not see them much after getting a pet.
Another unexpected part of pet ownership is the noise. Dogs bark, cat’s meow, hamsters squeak on little wheels, fish tanks gurgle, etc. If animal noises will keep you and your neighbors awake at night, consider the noise factor before getting a pet.
The Biggest Consideration
Most pets live a long time, at least 10 years or more, so make sure you consider your future before bringing a pet into your life. If you have dreams of traveling the world, or you’re a student who’s five year plan is to be anywhere the work is, maybe you should wait and see what the future holds for you before bringing a pet into it.
Most importantly, don’t just think about yourself, think about the pet. Nothing is worse than bringing a loving pet into your home, only to change your mind because you flaked out. They deserve better!