What you need to consider before getting a pet – Part 1

So you have fallen in love with a small furry face. Or every time you see someone walking their dog or petting their cat, you sigh with longing. You admire the tank of fish in the doctor’s office, picturing how it would look in your living room. You Tivo an entire week of animal planet. Finally, you just face the truth. You want a pet to call your own.

All joking aside, this is a serious decision and should be made with careful thought. This is a living, breathing creature you are considering taking full responsibility for. There are factors you need to examine to see if at this point in your life, buying a pet is the right choice. Not the least of them is, what kind of pet? If you never had a pet before, starting small is a good idea. Hamsters, mice and Guinea Pigs are all nice animals to care for, mice and hamsters being the best starter pets. Guinea Pigs are more work but very affectionate, sweet animals.

But what if nothing will do but a cat or a dog? Yes they take a lot of work, but even a first time pet owner, if wise, and willing to do some research into care for the animal they want, can successfully take on a larger pet.

Here are some things you need to think about:

A) How much time do you have to dedicate to a pet? In other words, what is your work schedule like? Do you have small children or babies to care for? Will you be home often enough to give your dog or cat the attention and care it deserves?

B) How much interaction/affection do you want from a pet? Cats and dogs are very demonstrative with their love, and enjoy a lot of interaction with their people. Reptiles and mice are not as attentive, though mice can be very cute. Guinea pigs adore attention and so do rats, but you can’t have them running around the house loose, and they’re too small to jump into your lap. If you want a pet simply to watch and enjoy, a tank full of colorful fish can be very soothing.

C) How much work are you willing to do to take care of a pet? Perhaps the better question is how much extra energy do you have to devote to a pet? Some take more energy than others, such as dogs compared with goldfish. And even within the dog group, different breeds have different needs as far as exercise and grooming.

D) How much can you afford? Not just in start up costs, but care for the rest of the pet’s life. Food, yearly medical expenses, bedding, boarding, etc, all must be taken into consideration.

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