If you’re a first-time pet owner
Congratulations on making this choice! Adding a pet to your family is extremely rewarding but it also comes with a host of responsibilities. If pets are on the cards for 2018, go through these questions.
Can I afford a pet?
You’re not just paying a one-off cost at the RSPCA Adoption Centre. Owning a cat, a dog, or a horse is a financial responsibility that many underestimate.
Animals should be treated just like people in they get sick, need food, and sleep. This means owners have to provide food, decent shelter, and have access to a veterinarian. Some pet owners even have health insurance for their animals, which comes in handy. Overexcited dogs might break a leg and major operations are a fact of life for people AND animals.
Am I ready for the responsibilities?
Yes, you have a full-time job with bills to pay but your pet deserves love and attention as any member of your family should.
The responsibilities of owning a pet will do you good! Plenty of studies have shown that pet owners are happier people thanks to that added layer of companionship. Plus they give you an excuse to exercise when it’s time for ‘walkies’.
Extra duties are less fun but necessary. Showering, cleaning up their mess, and feeding the pet is a given with owning one and cannot be avoided.
Is my home even suitable?
If you live in a rental make sure you check with the landlord. Pets aren’t always permitted and you might not even have enough space anyway. Small dogs in apartments should be alright, but it’s better to have yard space of some kind.
What about allergies?
If you, your partner, or your children have allergies to dog or cat hair you need to find a breed that won’t set you off.
If you’ve had a pet before
Make an assessment of your lifestyle now, compared to when your pet was still around. What are some of the things you can enjoy now compared to before when having a pet ‘restricted’ you?
This is a family decision and most likely your children, if you have any, are older. Sit down with them and explain that at their age, they can take on more responsibilities. You can’t be expected to do everything. Gently explain that jobs like feeding, cleaning, and walking are a family responsibility, not just one for parents.
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