Are you considering getting a pet and just not sure if the timing is right? There really is a “right” time to take on the responsibility of pet ownership and key things to consider when choosing the pet meant for you. Before committing to a pet companion, consider the following:
Do I have the time and space available for a pet?
All pets are going to need daily interaction with you for feeding, play time, exercise, cleaning (the pet and the pet’s environment) and trips to a veterinarian and perhaps a groomer. Most dogs appreciate space outside (a yard, dog park, etc.) to get adequate exercise and to just enjoy being a dog. Cats and caged pets need space for litter boxes, scratching posts, cages and related supplies as well as room to play.
Do I have the financial resources available to provide veterinary care, grooming needs and food for a pet?
Take time to research the cost involved for the pet you would like to have. Think about veterinary costs for general health care (examinations, vaccinations, parasite control, spaying/neutering, routine labwork, dental care), emergency care (sudden illnesses, accidental trauma or ingestion) as well as necessary grooming, food, supplements and supplies. It may be helpful to consider a savings account for your pet’s current and future needs and/or pet health insurance. According to information from the American Kennel Club, the average cost for food, supplies, preventative medications and veterinary care for a dog’s first year of life is about $3000 while an adult dog averages about $2000 per year.
Have I considered the needs of the pet I would like to have?
Considering a pet’s needs is especially important when considering a dog for a companion. Herding breeds, hunting breeds, hounds and similar breeds need a lot of exercise and interaction to maintain their physical and mental health. Most of these breeds are happiest when they have a “job” which requires a greater time commitment. If you travel often, consider a smaller pet that could travel with you or the possibility of boarding costs if the pet cannot travel with you.
Pet ownership can be very rewarding and the unconditional love of a pet companion is priceless however pet ownership is a responsibility that requires careful consideration and the right timing. Understanding the needs of the pet you are interested in and the financial requirements of that pet are very important to ensure that you and your pet companion have a happy life together.