Is Becoming a Pet Owner Right for You?

Is Becoming a Pet Owner Right for You?

Becoming a pet owner is a big decision.  You may love animals and want nothing more than having a pet to share your life, but there are a lot of responsibilities that go along with that.  Many people are not aware of the commitment that pet ownership entails.  You need to take into consideration a few points before you decide to take on the role of pet ownership.

Firstly, being an animal lover is not enough of a reason for pet ownership.  You need to assess your and your family’s situation before you make the final decision.  The timing should be right for you, the environment needs to be pet friendly and your family’s needs also need to be taken into consideration. 

What we mean by assessing your situation is this: 

  1. Time commitment - You need to be able to have the time to give your pet the attention it deserves. Does your job require you to travel a lot?  Are you seldom home?  Is your pet going to be home alone most of the time?  Do you have the time to give your pet the exercise it needs (i.e. walking your dog)?  
  1. Is your home a pet friendly environment? Do you live in an apartment that allows pets?   Do you live on a busy street that may not be cat-friendly?   Do you have a backyard where your pet can have some free space to run?  Do you have the right spot with proper sunlight and ventilation for your bird’s cage? 
  1. Family – Discuss getting a pet with the rest of your family. Are you a cat lover and your spouse a dog lover?  Does anyone in the family have pet allergies?  Who will take on the responsibility of the pet’s care?  Pets can be a large part of your family so every member of the family should at least be consulted when adding this new member to it. 
  1. Finances – Many people are unaware that having a pet also has a financial commitment attached to it. The pet needs to be fed.  There are vet bills involved – dogs and cats need shots, and perhaps to be spayed or neutered. Sometimes pets have other health issues that need to be addressed, and which may require a lot of money. There may be kennel fees or pet sitting fees involved if you need to leave your pet for a vacation period.  Cats need clean litter.  
  1. Temperament – and by this I mean your temperament. Do you have the patience needed to own a pet?  Pets need understanding and patience from you.  Puppies and kittens, as well as birds, need to be trained.  They bite and chew things around the house. They get into mischief.  They leave little messes for you to clean up.  You need to be able to deal with their personalities and you need to be compatible with them.  Do you have the love and compassion your pet will crave? 
  1. Timing – Is this the right time for you to own a pet? Sometimes timing is everything.  You may want a pet, but perhaps some other event in your life can prevent this from being the right time to begin pet ownership.  For example, perhaps you are contemplating a job transfer.  It may be a better idea to wait until you are settled in the new location to find out which environment may be more suitable to the pet you are considering.  Or, perhaps you have just had a baby and although you may still want a pet, you may not have the time to give a pet the attention it deserves (perhaps waiting a short time would be better.) 

All of the above needs to be carefully considered before you decide to take on the commitment of pet ownership.  But, also be aware that many of the obstacles can be overcome if you are determined that pet ownership is right for you.  

Remember though, that pet ownership is a commitment that may last for years.  It is not to be considered a short term fancy.  Pets live a long time (typically 10-15 years for dogs or cats-sometimes longer, and perhaps much longer for some birds) and you need to be able to commit that time for the life of your pet.

Owning a pet though, is a very rewarding experience.  Your pet’s commitment and devotion to you will be complete.  Nowhere will you receive the satisfaction, love and bonding that comes with giving your life and attention into your pet’s ownership.

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