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.