Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Bring a Pet Home

February 01, 2021

There is no doubt that having a bright-eyed and bushy tailed pet at home brings all kinds of magic to your life. But when you bring one home on an impulse, it often does more harm than good.

Beyond the cute Instagram photos and videos, a pet is a lot of responsibility. To live their best lives, they need plenty of attention, exercise, a healthy diet and commitment right up to the end. It’s more than just fun and games, learning, training and guidance is a big part of life as a pet parent.

Bonding with a young pup or kitten happens in a flash but as you look after them 24/7, you will see that pet parenting often involves a lot of messy stuff that may not fit your lifestyle. If you realise that you’re not up to it after bringing a pet home, there is sure to be heartbreak for both of you (more for the pet than for you). And since you can’t sit down and explain the issues to your pet, he or she is left completely confused and utterly sad. Some even stop eating and never recover. SO, to avoid this situation, we have a few key questions that you can ask yourself to see if this is the right time in your life to bring a pet home.

Do you have the time?

Having unpredictable hours and deadlines that force you to work late into the night is not uncommon. Many roles even require you to travel frequently at a moment’s notice. But pets need a regular routine and like to eat, poop and sleep at more or less fixed times. So, ask yourself if your work will allow you to stick to a routine. Also, remember that for the first two or three months, your pup/kitten will need hands on assistance for frequent feeds, potty training etc. through the day. If you live alone, consider what will happen to your pet if you fall sick. Will you be able to get leave to be there for your pet? Or is there someone else who can be relied to care for him/her at this time?

Can you afford it?

Pets are more expensive than you may think and this is an important consideration. Go around your local pet store and take a look at the prices of food, puppy pee pads, beds, walk accessories, toys etc. This will give you an approximate idea of the basic expenses for your pet. Remember to factor in vet visits, dog walkers, boarding and so on that may be recurring expenses.

Does everyone in your home agree to adding a pet to the family?

Dogs and cats are sentient beings who like to be free, sniff and explore their surroundings. Keeping them confined to a small space or keeping them tied up all the time is inhumane. They will have to share your home with the rest of your family.

Children are understandably excited about bringing kittens and pups home but they don’t really think about the responsibilities involved. Also, remember that children often lose interest in something they were previously enthusiastic about. Don’t bring a pet home just because your child is excited about it today. Ultimately, it always falls to the adults to do the heavy lifting.

The responsibility of a pet is often shared and this is why it is important to make sure that everyone in your family is on board with bringing a pet home. If you live in a rented home or an apartment, don’t forget to check with your landlord! It may be very tempting to bring home a pup and then ‘convince’ your family to let you keep him but most often this never works and the pup you bring is the one who is most affected.

Are you going to be relocating in the near future for work/study?

If you still have a few years of academic study left or you’re in line for a promotion that will require you to relocate, think about whether you will be able to relocate with your pet. Relocating a pet is not as simple as buying him/her a plane ticket. Depending on the country, it may involve paperwork, medical check-ups, a quarantine period and all this can get expensive. Some countries have restrictions on certain breeds as well.

If you’re planning to get married in the near future, take that into consideration because you may move into a new house and will need your partner to be on board with this as well.

Have you considered all aspects of this?

Each breed is special in its own way. But you have to research all aspects of the breed to see if the dog you’re planning to bring home fits your lifestyle. For example, Beagles are lovely dogs and a popular choice. Despite being small, they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to satisfy their inquisitive, intelligent natures. Don’t get carried away by how adorable pups are. Think about what life is going to be like when that adorable puppy grows up into a handsome dog (it happens much quicker than you think).

When you bring a dog home, it should be for life

When you commit to a dog, it should be for their entire lives because that’s what they commit to. A dog’s lifespan is between 10 -15 years so they turn senior quite quickly. Senior dogs have their own needs and may need much more care. Ask yourself if you’re prepared for this.

What can you do, if you can’t adopt right now?

Just because you can’t have a pet at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t get your furry fix. We bet you have friends or neighbours who would gladly accept a helping hand with their pets. Offer to walk them, pet sit for them or watch out for them.

Otherwise, you can also volunteer at shelters where you can learn a lot about looking after dogs and really make a difference to a number of dogs’ lives. Another way to contribute if you have limited time to offer is passive adoption.

If you have the time and understand how to care for doggies in special situations, you can open your home to fosters and really make a difference.

Pets are generally brought home with all the right intentions, unfortunately doing this impulsively without considering all the factors can leave you and, more importantly, your pet, in a fix. These questions are here just to get you started, do think carefully before you bring a pet home, considering all the unique aspects of your life. Don’t forget to spread the message and urge friends and family to think things through as well.

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