Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Pet

by Christina Brown · 4 comments

in Frugal Living

Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Pet Owning a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.

It can also be one of the most expensive.

A pet is a lifetime committment – the pet’s lifetime – and it is important that you’re not only emotionally, but financially ready to take on such a responsibility.

Before you adopt a pet, ask yourself the following questions:

What pet best fits my lifestyle? How much time do you have to spend with a pet?  Will you be able to take a large dog for regular long walks?  Do you or your family members have pet allergies?  Perhaps, aquarium fish are a better choice.  Are you single?  A cat may be the perfect companion?  Want a little more interaction, perhaps a bird is the answer.

How much money can I spend to care for a pet? There are many costs of owning a pet.  You’ll need to provide food, water, shelter, and veterinary  care for your pet.  In addition you may want to budget for toys, grooming, flea & tick prevention, training, boarding, and more.  The ASPCA has a great chart that lays out potential pet care costs for various types of pets.  Keep in mind that as your pet ages, the expenses often increase, too.

What will I do with my pet when I take a vacation? It’s not always practical or desirable to take your pet with you wherever you go.  Will you have to pay to board your pet or pay to have a pet sitter?  You’ll need to build this expense into your budget.

Am I willing to do whatever it takes to ensure my pet’s well-being? This could mean having your pet spayed or neutered or dealing with unexpected pet care costs.   It means that you make sure you don’t leave your pet alone for 12 hours a day during the week.  You need to make absolutely certain that you can ensure this pet’s well-being for it’s entire life.  This means taking good care of it’s health and making sure that it is loved.

You may find that you don’t have the money or the time to properly care for a pet, and that’s okay.  You can offer to care for  a friend’s pet when they’re on vacation or volunteer at a local animal shelter.   Many animal shelters have foster programs in which you agree to care for a dog or cat until they can be adopted.

If you do decide a pet is a good fit for you and your family, remember to budget for bigger, unexpected expenses in addition to the day-to-day care.   Once you’ve fallen in love with your pet, you don’t want to have to make decisions regarding their health based only on money.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn @ Frugal Upstate April 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

I think you’ve brought up excellent points-especially the first. Pet ownership is a responsibility. I cringe when I think of folks who take one on lightly and then just “get rid of it” when they find out it’s more work then they expected. (note: there are legit reasons to get rid of a pet. I had a dog who started biting folks if they came near her food or any food dropped on the floor. At the time the kids were 18mo & 3. That wasn’t going to work)

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2 jenny April 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

I think you should always plan for potential boarding or paying a sitter. We thought we were being responsible when we secured two seperate famlies that could pet sit (at minimal or no cost) before we even got our dog, but soon found out many times, both families had prior commitments, were unwilling to or in the case of my brother, we had plans to both visit our sister’s place out of state, where she is severely allergic to dogs (and our alternate famly had plans). Its good to have your boarding calls made ahead of time so its less of a inconvienience to get the information you need should you need them, or a few responsible teenagers that could take care of your pet.

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3 Frugal Living April 28, 2011 at 11:08 am

I would never adopt a pet unless I knew the history of what the pet has going through throughout their lifetime

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4 Melissa April 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I actually did the math last year to see how much my pets cost me. My dog was a new addition so she was a little pricey with all of her start-up costs….but if anyone is interested, here’s my blog :)
http://mypuppystory.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-much-does-it-cost-to-raise-few.html

I definitely agree, pets are a HUGE responsibility and if you’re not 100% sure you’re ready for at least the next 10-15 years, DON’T waste that poor animals time, let them go to a home that is ready!

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