I, like many other people, wanted a dog when I was a young child (okay, and maybe a pony and a guinea pig and a couple more dogs as well). My parents, like many other parents, didn’t immediately get me one. Why? Because having a pet is a huge responsibility.
While I’m all about people rescuing poor animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations, it’s also important to consider if getting a pet is right for you. It’s not going to be beneficial for you or the animal if you’re going to neglect him/her. I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from getting a pet (if you’re ready, you definitely should because they’re the best!); I’m just saying that you need to think about it beforehand. I’ll even help you with some questions to consider!
Do you have the money?
Trust me, pets can eat a lot! You’ll also likely have to buy food, toys, a bed, treats, bowls, collars, cages, etc. And then there’s vet bills that can get costly. There’s also typically an adoption fee as well but you only have to pay for it once.
Are you constantly traveling?
This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but if you are traveling all the time, you’ll have to make plans for your pet. You could take them with you (potentially restricting the hotels you can stay at), have a friend/family member take care of them, take them to a kennel, etc.
Do you have the time?
If you’re at work all day, you might not have the right schedule for an attention-demanding pet like a dog. Dogs have to be taken outside to go to the bathroom and for exercise (most of them anyways). Cats are more independent and might be better for you as long as you have scratching posts/toys for him/her to play with when you’re gone.
Are you going to be able to take the pet with you if you move?
Especially if you do not own a house and are currently renting an apartment, you’ll have to make sure you can bring your pet with you if you relocate. If you’re renting, there’s normally a set fee for a pet ($200+) and a recurring monthly fee ($10+). Also consider this if you’re not quite set in a career yet. I have no regrets about having pets whatsoever, but there are some jobs that I immediately say no to because they provide housing for you that’s not pet friendly. It also might cause you to hesitate to take temporary positions out of the country (I don’t know if this is a thing for other majors, but I look a lot at field research positions).
Are the people you live with okay with having a pet?
Some people might have allergies or might not like pets for some reason. You’ll have to have a chat with them before you get a pet to make sure you’re on the same page. Otherwise you might have to find some new roommates (or not get a pet).
If the previous questions didn’t phase you, then here are some other tips to help you find the perfect type of pet for your lifestyle!
- Research the species/breed that’s right for you
- Make a checklist on what supplies you’ll need
- Find out all the information you can on the pet you want to adopt (house trained, good with people, vaccinations, etc.)
If you’re looking to get a pet, I hope this post helped you out. Feel free to ask me any other questions you might have! Also, if you want to share any more tips or your own adoption stories, post them in the comments. I’d love to read them!