The UK is a nation of animal lovers. It is estimated that around 44% of British households have at least one pet, with dogs and cats the most popular choices. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, it’s important to make sure you’re ready. Here are some questions to ask before you make a decision.
Have I got time?
There are some pets that are incredibly independent, but if you’re thinking about getting a dog, the amount of time you have available is a crucial consideration. Dogs are affectionate, sociable animals, and they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. Ideally, if you own a dog, you should spend the majority of your time at home, but if this isn’t possible, there are options you can explore. If you work full-time, for example, you could look into doggy daycare or hire a dog walker to feed and walk your dog while you’re out of the house. Cats are less co-dependent, but they do enjoy human interaction. If you tend to be out during the day, cats, rabbits, and small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs are probably a better option than dogs. When you’re thinking about how much time you have when toying with the idea of getting a dog, you’ll also need to factor in the time it takes to walk your pooch. Some smaller breeds don’t need a huge amount of exercise, but some dogs need at least two long walks a day.
Can I afford it?
There’s no getting around the fact that keeping pets cost money. You’ll need to factor in the cost of food, insurance, and vet bills before you even think about buying beds and dog toys or explore additional expenses like daycare and trips to the grooming salon. Vet bills can spiral, and they sometimes come out of the blue, so it’s worth taking out insurance for cats and dogs to cover the cost of any unexpected treatments. You can also save money by buying food in bulk and comparing prices online. Before you decide whether or not to get a pet, think about how much it’s going to cost you and do some sums. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, it may be best to wait.
Is there enough space?
If you’re already living on top of each other, you’re tripping over bikes, toys or bits of Lego all the time, or you don’t have a garden, you may wish to think about whether it makes sense to get a pet. Small pets don’t take up much space, but if you’re thinking about buying a puppy, consider the breed carefully. A large dog will take up a lot of room, and there’s also a good chance it will need a lot of exercise, so outdoor space is essential.
Am I ok with the mess?
If you’re one of those people who likes everything to be just so, think carefully about bringing a cuddly creature into your home. If you can’t bear the thought of muddy paw prints on the floor or balls, plastic ducks or chew toys strewn across the lounge, getting a pet may not be the best idea. Pets tend to generate mess, and unfortunately, they don’t clean up after themselves!
Do I like to travel?
If you enjoy travelling, you go away a lot with work, or you’re a fan of a spontaneous break, having a pet may put pay to your plans. Cats can be left for a night or two, but dogs need feeding and letting out on a regular basis, and they don’t like to go too long without a cuddle. It is possible to have a dog and to go on holiday if you’ve got friends or family who are willing to look after your pet, or you’re willing to pay for your dog to go into kennels, but if you plan to be away on a regular basis, it’s probably not the best idea to get a pet at the moment.
Are you thinking of getting a pet? If so, it’s best to consider your options carefully. It’s wonderful to have a furry friend at home, but some animals, particularly dogs, require a lot of looking after and it can be expensive to keep a pet. If you’re not sure if you’ve got the time, the money or the patience to give a pet the attention and love it deserves, it may be best to wait and then reconsider further down the line.
*This is a collaborative post*