Getting a pet is not a decision you should make on a whim. Pets are for life, not just for Christmas (or any other special event). Once you accept a pet into your family, it becomes one of the family – a friend and a much-loved companion. But like any relationship, things will be a lot easier if your new friend slots into your life seamlessly.
Before you buy or adopt a pet, think carefully about your lifestyle. Is there room in your life for a pet? We’re not just talking figuratively – we mean literally as well!
Your living arrangements
Let’s say you live in a tiny apartment on the 10th floor of a high-rise block. Sure, you’d love a big, bouncy dog, but is such a large boisterous pet really a great idea? For one thing, it might not take kindly to riding in the elevator, and for another, the apartment manager may not appreciate you having a pet.
Always take your living arrangements into account before you accept a pet into your life. Check whether your landlord accepts pets (if applicable). Ask your family or roomies whether a pet is OK with them. If they are not keen, reconsider your decision.
Are you a couch potato, a party animal, or maybe you tend to sleep a lot because of health issues? All of these things are a factor in how well a pet will fit into your life. Some pets, like cats, are independent and won’t care whether you’re around or not, or asleep. But other pets, such as dogs, need a lot more care and attention.
It’s not a great idea to buy a dog if you love to party 24/7, as your dog will pine and be miserable. He’ll probably pee all over your floor, too.
Hobbies and pets dictate how we spend our time. Research from Nuwber shows a clear relationship between pets and their owner’s hobbies. For example, Nuwber research found that cat owners were more likely to have indoor hobbies, such as home decorating and cooking, whereas people with outdoor hobbies were more likely to have a dog.
Consider whether your ideal pet will fit in with your hobbies. If you love the Great Outdoors, a lively dog is probably a better choice than a slothful cat.
Not all jobs are conducive to pet ownership. People who work long hours or travel a lot with their job don’t make the best pet parents. On the other hand, if you work from home or your company allows pets in the office, your job won’t be a barrier to pet ownership.
Lastly, take your personal finances into account before buying or adopting a pet. Dogs typically cost their owners more than $1,000 in the first year alone, and as pets age, the cost of healthcare typically rises. Pet insurance can mitigate some of these costs, but you’ll still have to factor in food, pet accessories, and all the other little extras.
Don’t rush into pet ownership. Pets offer us unconditional love and bring us great joy, but it’s essential that you weigh up whether your life and finances can accommodate a four-legged friend. If not, perhaps a goldfish is a better choice than a dog or cat.