Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet
You know you want to get a pet. You may even know what kind of pet you want. But, you’re not sure what it takes to provide for one, and you’re afraid things could end badly, so you’re stuck between your yearning and your fear, looking for some guidance. Being aware of some of the personal factors that can affect your ability to provide for the needs of a prospective pet in the first place can be helpful. Below is a list of such factors.
Just because you may be limited in one or two areas doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have a pet! We hope our list prompts you to consider what kind of animal companion might work best with your needs, or what areas in your life you might be able to adjust to meet the needs of the pet you want. Happy pet matchmaking!
Personal Factors that Affect Your Ability to Care for a Pet:
1 – Lifestyle and Time. Consider the demands of your job, family and social life, daily routine, hobbies, and plans for the future of your living situation. Do you think you could make sacrifices in some of these areas to make room for caring for a pet? For example, some plants, foods, and common house chemicals are toxic to some pets – could you give them up or reconfigure the layout of your home so that your pets can’t get into them? Furthermore, given your current life schedule, do you think you have or could make the time to devote to training, experimenting with foods, treats, and toys, playing, and researching?
Tip – Cats, dogs, and bunnies tend to fare better when they have a lot of attention, but tend to suffer in solitude. Fish are a little less high-maintenance, and guinea pigs have a reputation for being a good first family pet, as they are social and playful, tolerant of petting, and are usually a short-term time commitment. If you have children, you may also want to research the temperament of cats and dogs breed-by-breed to minimize the likelihood of biting and scratching.
2 – Personality and Energy. After tending to the above aspects of your life, what would you say is your average level of energy in a day? You might want a pet whose energy level matches yours, so that neither of you are too exhausted after time together or are just not interested in spending time together. Do you have the energy or the interest to put into training a dog or a cat? Be sure to research breed-by-breed, again!
- 3 – Location and Space. Certain accommodations, neighborhoods, and climates may be better for some pets and worse for others. If you’re renting, you’ll want to respect the building’s and owner’s pet regulations. Some dwellings might not be big enough to keep a dog or a cat, or have the neighborhood ideal for walking and playing with them. Furthermore, you’ll also want to have a good veterinarian fairly close by, as well as options for petsitters and boarding.
4 – Bank Account. Multiple sources agree that it may take about $1,000 annually to take care of a pet, including their food, toys, collar/id and pictures, vet’s visits, and grooming, among other costs. Some specific pets may cost more than others depending on different health or grooming needs. Professional grooming for dogs with long hair can cost between $50 and $90.
5 – Health. You may also want to consider your own health needs, and whether they are compatible with owning a pet. Be aware of allergies, and make sure medications stay far away and out of reach of your pets.
Getting a pet is a big decision and requires a lot of forethought. Our team at Longview Animal Hospital is available to advise you with guidance about your prospective pet’s needs, such as vaccinations, diets, spaying and neutering, and dental hygiene. Give us a call at (903) 807-0887 or stop by for a visit at our offices at 2500 Estes Parkway in Longview!