Lots of people want pets. They are wonderful companions that provide love and comfort throughout the years, and it doesn’t hurt that they can be absolutely adorable to boot. That said, too many stories end in a pet being abused or abandoned. Every year, 6.5 million companion animals are sent to shelters. Half of those are dogs, and the other half are cats, with a small percentage made up of other animals. Among those, 1.5 million innocent animals are euthanized. Only 11% of shelter animals are returned to their owners.
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Do those statistics bother you? Then for that reason alone, you want to make sure that you are really prepared to be a pet owner for all of its ups and downs. Before adopting your new buddy, here are some questions you want to ask yourself.
Can you handle the home maintenance it will take?
Pets can be messy. Since animals don’t have the same verbal communication we do, we can’t necessarily expect them to understand when we don’t like it that they scratch their paws on the drawers or that it’s not acceptable to track mud into the home. Even when they are trained, you still have to consider that they will inevitably shed and that they will sometimes poo or pee in the wrong spots out of territory-marking or sign they are feeling bad.
Having a furry pet means vacuuming more often, making sure you get dryer vent cleaning and having to reorganize things more often than you might like to. Even feeding times can get messy, especially if you feed them wet food. If you have a particularly boisterous pet, this also means sweeping up food pellets that have flown places, picking up toys, and fixing furniture that’s been swatted or jumped on.
Can you afford their food, grooming, and medication?
Having a pet can be pretty pricey, even if you don’t go for the extreme top-of-the-line on everything. You don’t want to neglect your pet by skipping out on cleaning them completely, and you don’t want to risk them developing any diseases (that lead to even more expenses) that could hurt them because they’ve been fed a poor-quality diet. If your pet has a condition or gets sick, that means they’ll need medication.
Even if you have a perfectly healthy baby, this needs to be maintained with shots here and there. All of those things add up, especially if you plan on having more than one pet.
Can you stay patient and committed as they grow up and may have behavioral issues?
You can’t expect your pet to behave perfectly and the most loving creature to exist. Animals have their own individual personalities, too, and even that pattern can change based on their hormones and environment. If you think you might find this an issue and you don’t want a pet you might deem as “defective” in your eyes, then it may be best to steer clear of pet ownership altogether.
Some animals take more care and patience, especially if they are sick or have had past trauma. It’s important to take that into account, particularly if you are expecting them to love you unconditionally, just like that.
Can you devote enough time to caring for them?
You don’t have to be with your pet 24/7, but you must not neglect them either. Aside from the need to feed them and clean them, it’s also important to bond with them. Yes, animals can think and feel as proven by science, albeit differently than we humans do. If you don’t spend enough time with them, they can express feelings that can be akin to being hurt, jealous, or even uncared for. Though they express it and feel it in a different way than how human minds functionally do so, it’s just as important to take that into account and give credence to it.
This list is not meant to scare you away from being a pet owner. In fact, there are many strays and shelter animals looking for a loving home and a family that will take good care of them. There are few things quite as fulfilling as snuggling up to them at the end of a tiring day and being able to care for a pet over the years.
It is simply important that you answer these questions yourself so that you know that you can not only provide the best for your pet-to-be but also not get overwhelmed and cave under pressure. This way, you know you are giving the best care for your furry loved one.