Getting a pet is a tempting development in your life. They provide play and companionship, a relationship milestone, even extra security. If you grew up with cats or dogs (or birds, or hamsters, or any other pets you can keep legally in the UK) in the house then it can feel like a rite of passage to come home with your own. If you want to be a caring and responsible pet owner, though, you need to ask if it’s the right time for you to get a pet. Today we’re looking at some of the ways you can make that decision.
Getting a pet is all about responsibility: it can’t all be cuddles and games! You need to know that you’re able to handle the unpleasant days when you find cat diarrhea and vomiting, not just the days when your pet cat is sitting sleeping in your lap.
Do some research: look up the needs of your chosen pet, and make sure you read up on individual species. All dogs are not created equal, and a greyhound has very different needs than a chihuahua. If you’re not to meet the responsibility of providing enough exercise, the right diet, and a home environment in which your pet can be safe, comfortable and healthy, then getting a pet at this stage of your life could be the wrong decision.
While some pets are cheaper than others, no pet comes free. As well as the initial cost of buying or adopting a pet, getting them vaccinated and buying leads, beds, blankets, aquaria or whatever special supplies your chosen pet needs to make a home, there’s the ongoing cost of food and sometimes larger unexpected bills if your pet gets sick or injured and needs a vet’s attention! While we all want the best for our pets, it’s unrealistic to hope for a life without the need for any vet’s attention whatsoever, so think about how you budget, and if you’ll be able to meet the cost of help for your pet when they need it.
One of the most important things about having a pet is being able to provide a secure and happy home for it. Even if you can do that at the moment, take a moment to think about how stable your situation is. If you rent – especially in a city – then you can expect to move house semi-regularly. Not all landlords accept pets, and not all rented properties are suitable for all types of animal. While you might have the perfect home for a cat when you bring one home, the time you move might bring you close to a busy road, into a smaller property or one without a garden or close to other feline hazards. Finding a suitable home for your pet can make finding one for yourself even more stressful than it is already!
If you’re confident that you can meet all the needs of a pet, afford its care and provide a safe, happy home, then it’s the right time for you to make your dreams a reality! If you’re not sure you’ll be able to fulfil these key criteria it might be time to reassess your plans.