Owning a pet can be a truly rewarding experience, indeed, many people I know consider their pets to be a part of the family. As a pet owner for many years I experienced the joy that owning a pet can bring. For others, adopting a pet didn’t turn out quite so well. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and a big expense. It is important to carefully consider what’s involved in pet ownership before trotting off to the local shelter to adopt one. Here are some tips to help you in your decision.
Consider your lifestyle. Research the species you are interested in welcoming in to your home, the characteristics, traits, and the amount care and attention they will need. You will have to fit time in to care for the animal, dogs especially need to be walked every day. What will you realistically have time for? It is far easier to determine the particular breed you are considering to be unsuitable for your lifestyle before you adopt than afterward, when you or your children have formed a deep emotional attachment.
Talk to someone who owns the species or breed you are interested in. They can give you a good idea of what’s involved in owing that particular animal. If you are purchasing be sure to check out the breeder. You want to work with a reputable breeder.
Consider the costs. One species can be cheaper to own than another. A purebred animal can be quite expensive. Be sure to get health certificates from the breeder to certify the animal is free from certain conditions more prevalent in the breed, like hip dysplasia in large dogs. While a shelter animal will be cheaper to purchase, they often come with health conditions that require treatment by a qualified veterinarian so costs can really add up. Be aware that health related costs will increase significantly later in life, as your pet ages, so be prepared to put a nest egg aside for pet emergencies. Everyday expenses such as feeding, grooming, litter, toys, treats can add up quickly. Be sure to estimate the cost of everyday expenses such as these and include it in your pet budget. A large animal can be costly to feed. When we calculated our expenses for our Yellow Lab, who was healthy – it cost us $100.00 per month.
Pet ownership is a serious decision, one that requires time and effort and a financial and emotional commitment from you. It’s all part of being a responsible pet owner. My advice is to do your homework, be prepared. Pet ownership done successfully can enrich your life in ways you may never have expected.
~ Wendy Dupuis