Taking a new pet home shouldn’t be a snap decision that you make in the middle of a pet store. Owning an animal means that you make a commitment to that animal for the rest of its life. Before you buy or adopt, make sure you meet these requirements.
- You have a place for the animal. While a gerbil might just need a shelf for his cage, a large dog needs a place to roam. It’s not fair to keep a big animal in a house or apartment that is too small, even if you plan to walk him or her everyday.
- You have a stable home life. Your commitment to this pet will last for years. What will happen if you have to move? If you’re currently renting or need to rent in the future, would a landlord accept the pet? Also consider if your family’s schedule is stable enough to make sure that the pet is played with, exercised, and fed everyday. If you’re going through a lot of personal upheaval, it’s not time to get a new pet.
- You have enough savings to cover the animal’s care. The cost of a pet is more than food and toys. Regular vet care can cost hundreds of dollars a year for a large or exotic animal. Expect to spend more when an emergency comes up. Make sure you have part of your savings dedicated to pet care. If you’re going through a financial hardship right now, wait until you’re more stable before bringing home a furry or scaly friend.
- You have time. All pets require attention. It’s only a good idea to bring home a new animal friend if you have a schedule that allows you to play, feed, bathe, and exercise your pet. If you’re working long hours or travel frequently, wait until you get more settled before bringing someone new home.