Four Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet

Deciding to get a pet is a big decision, and a big commitment. Getting a pet should never be a decision made hastily in a grocery store parking lot next to a box of free puppies. Although there are situations like this that turn out fine, a pet is something that should be thought about and planned carefully in advance. There are many things a potential pet owner should consider before they decide to add a pet to their family.

Reason for wanting a pet
One of the very first things you should evaluate is your reasons behind wanting a pet. Getting a pet just because your children have been asking for one, or you just think that they’re cute are likely reasons that won’t end well. Really evaluate your reasons for wanting a pet before making this important decision.

Pets require patience and some pets require much more of it than others. Younger pets, such as kittens and puppies, are likely to test your patience as they learn and grow. You’re likely to end up with scratched up furniture, chewed up shoes, and wet spots on your carpet as your new pet learns and becomes accustomed to his or her new environment. This can be true of even older and already trained pets, as they too have to acclimate to their new surroundings and new family. If you’re quick to anger, hot tempered and don’t do well with patience, a new pet may not be a good idea.

One of the biggest things potential pet owners should consider is their amount of available time to dedicate to a pet. Time is especially important if you are considering getting a younger animal, such as a puppy or kitten, who may need to be trained and monitored more carefully to begin with. Additionally, certain animals are more high maintenance than others. For example, a dog will need to be exercised regularly, while a cat won’t need to go on walks. Before deciding to get a pet, you should evaluate how much time you have on your hands to dedicate to a new pet.

Pets of any type can get expensive. Your pet will obviously need food and a few toys, however, your pet will also need veterinary care and vaccinations. If you’re considering an animal that isn’t spayed or neutered, you will likely also have to bear the cost of this procedure, which provides tremendous health benefits to the animal. A pet isn’t a cheap thing to invest in, and finances should be considered very carefully. If you’re barely scraping by, or relying on assistance from the government, friends or family, choosing to get a pet likely isn’t a wise decision at this time.

Lastly, a pet needs space. Even smaller pets, such as gerbils and hamsters, need space dedicated to their cage and supplies. Larger pets, such as cats and dogs also need space. If your living quarters are small and overfilled, it may not be a good idea to get a large dog. Additionally, if you only have a small yard, or even worse, no yard at all, it may be difficult to let a dog outside. Cats also need their space, and there should always be somewhere a cat can retreat to in order to get away from the people and activity within your home. If you don’t have adequate space in your home and on your property, it may be better to wait to get a pet.

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