Am I Ready for a Pet? (Read This to Find Out!)
Written By: Jessica Brody from Ourbestfriends.pet
The vast majority of American households own a pet. Cats and dogs are the most popular, and are the two animals domesticated enough to form undeniable bonds with their owners. There are many reasons to want a pet. They provide unconditional love, companionship, and a sense of responsibility. However, being responsible for a living creature’s well-being is a big decision, and one that should never be made spontaneously.
Open your wallet
One of your first considerations before adopting a furry friend is whether or not you can afford it. Unlike wild animals, cats and dogs are not self-sustaining. They rely on you for food, shelter, medical care, and other things they simply can’t provide for themselves. Money Under 30 estimates that the first year’s cost of having a dog is more than $1,200; cats aren’t far behind. Once the major expenses are out of the way, you are still looking at $500 per year or more on food, gear, and veterinary care.
Open your home
Dogs and cats may not be as big as humans, but they need just as much space. Exercise is a major component in a dog’s overall well-being. Therefore, you should consider whether or not you have a yard or are willing to dedicate yourself to at least three daily walks. Samford Pet Resort goes into more detail on how much yard you need before bringing a dog through the fence. Another big thing to consider is whether you or a member of your family has pet allergies. While the American Kennel Club notes that mild-to-moderate allergies may not preclude you from having a pet, severe allergies might. If you aren’t sure, spend some time volunteering at your local animal shelter to see if you have a reaction.
Gear up for a smooth transition
Preparation is essential in transitioning your new pet from the pound to his new palace. There’s lots of gear, and some of it isn’t cheap. A good vacuum cleaner, for example, can cost hundreds of dollars but is an investment in your home. Animals shed, and a vacuum cleaner with the right attachments can suck the hair and allergens from the carpet as well as your bed and sofa. If you don’t already have one, look for a newer model that features allergen filters that are also efficient and lightweight so you can move it from room to room with ease.
Another pricey possibility, especially if your dog will spend more than an hour or two outdoors at a time, is a dog house. Dog houses range from molded plastic to custom-built works of art. PawCastle’s buying guide can give you a better idea of what’s available.
Less cost prohibitive are food bowls, beds, collars, leashes, and toys. These items can be found at most big-box retailers for $50 each or less.
Once your gear is in place – and you’ve eliminated potential poisons from your new pup’s reach – it’s time to bring him home. While he will need some time to acclimate, keep in mind that even nervous pets need discipline and training in order to feel calm and in control. Be patient, and allow them an opportunity to explore their new surroundings. Show them where their food and water bowls will be, and make sure to keep rooms they are not allowed in blocked off until they learn the house rules. Don’t forget to talk to your vet about microchipping, which can mean the difference between lost and found if your pet accidentally wanders away.
Having a pet is one of the greatest experiences a person can have. They provide unconditional love and are capable of forging bonds that will last long after they’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge. If you need any further convincing that you need a pet, keep in mind that they may save your life just as you will have saved theirs by adopting from an animal shelter.
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