Pets often make wonderful additions to a household. Parents not only love pets because animals bring smiles to their children’s faces, but also because pets teach kids about responsibility.
But the decision of whether or not to bring a pet into a home is a complicated one that parents would be wise to give ample consideration before making their final decision. The following are a few factors parents can consider when deciding if now is the right time to bring a pet into their household.
Finances : Money is often overlooked when deciding whether or not to bring a pet into a home.But pets can be expensive, and the potential cost of pet ownership must be fully explored. Pet adoption fees are often negligible, but families who prefer a purebred dog can expect to spend considerably more money than they would if they were to adopt a mixed breed dog from the local shelter. In addition, a pedigreed cat is likely to cost more than a cat adopted from the shelter. But those initial fees are only a small part of the expenses associated with pet ownership. Medical costs, including routine veterinary visits and medication, pet insurance, food, and grooming costs can add up over time, so families already working on thin budgets might find it’s not financially prudent to bring a pet into their home until their finances stabilize.
Families who tend to travel a lot also must consider the cost of sheltering the animal when they are out of town, while renters should determine if bringing a pet into a home will incur a higher rental deposit or if the animal is likely to cause damage, as puppies and kittens tend to do, that will ultimately cost them money when they move out of their rental.
Time : Some pets require more attention than others, so heads of a family should consider just how much time they have to devote to pet ownership. Dogs tend to need the most attention among the more popular household pets, so families whose schedules are already full may find that pets who don’t need so much attention fit their lifestyle better. For example, cats don’t need to go for daily walks and tend to be more independent than canines, making them ideal pets for on-the-go families. When deciding if a pet is right for your family, give heavy consideration to how much time your family spends at home, and if you decide to adopt a pet, choose one that won’t be negatively affected by your schedules.
Demeanor : When considering bringing a pet into a home, parents should consider both their own demeanor, their kids’ demeanors and the demeanor of the pet they are thinking of adopting. Dogs have their idiosyncrasies, but breeds tend to exhibit similar behaviors. Labrador retrievers, for example, tend to be active and energetic, while a typical English bulldog might be more laid-back and less prone to running around. Active families who enjoy spending time outdoors might prefer a more active dog, while families who enjoy relaxing at home might want a dog that’s equally comfortable lounging around the house.
When considering cats, families should speak with a professional, be it a veterinarian or a representative at the local animal shelter, about the demeanors of different breeds to ensure they make the best decision. Parents of young children likely want a cat that’s playful as opposed to one who is likely to be standoffish with curious kids.
Future : The future is another thing parents must consider before bringing a pet into their home. Parents whose careers are stable might make better pet owners than those angling for a reassignment or looking to change careers. An unfortunate side effect of the recession that began in 2008 was that many families were forced to relocate when one or both parents lost their jobs but found opportunities elsewhere. Upon moving, these families realized the family pet could not make the trip, which led to shelters being flooded with homeless pets. If your family’s future is in question, delay adopting or buying a pet until your situation is more stable. If all is well in your career and your family is firmly entrenched in your community, then now might be a great time to bring a pet into your home.