Before you consider getting a pet, it’s important to think about the commitment involved and ensure that you’re ready for the particular animal you’ve chosen. After all, you are considering expanding your family!
Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
All pets–not just dogs– can provide unconditional love and immense satisfaction to their owners. However, responsible pet ownership requires that owners return that love. Although having a pet can be great fun, it is also immense work. I spend every day coaxing my schipperke to come inside after a romp, pleading with the bearded dragon to please not attack his food bowl, and hoping that my German shepherd will learn that the mailman is not her mortal enemy. But my work is paid back exponentially in love.
Before you consider getting a pet, there are 3 things you should know:
Cost of a New Pet
The money you pay to purchase or adopt an animal is, in most cases, the smallest portion of a pet’s cost. From small expenses like greenies dog treats to more substantial expenses like veterinary bills and animal cages, you must ensure that you have the necessary funds to provide your animal with a good life. This includes paying for
Generally speaking, the least expensive pets are small animals that require few toys and whose veterinary care is relatively inexpensive. Hamsters, gerbils and mice average $25 to $100 in setup costs and will typically require $100 to $200 a year in additional expenses.
Reptiles tend to be markedly more expensive. Cages, heat and UV lighting, substrate (the material on the bottom of the tank or aquarium), and thermometers can range from $100 to $500 in additional costs. Because most reptiles require annual veterinary care and a steady stream of live feeder insects, their annual cost ranges from $200 to $1000.
Mammals such as chinchillas and guinea pigs require large cages and substantial toys that can cost several hundred dollars. However, annual veterinary and maintenance costs are minimal, ranging from $50 to $200.
Dogs and cats can be expensive pets, costing several hundred dollars in start-up costs including shots, de-worming, toys, and spaying or neutering. Depending on the animal’s size, their food is several hundred dollars each year, and training and veterinary costs are several hundred dollars more. You can always try to purchase items at a discount online, and buy in volume, like bulk puppy pads.
Time Commitment Your Pet Will Need
All pets require a minimal daily commitment of feeding and watering, so if you travel frequently, you’ll need to ensure you have a backup plan. However, reptiles can make excellent pets for busy families and people who travel frequently because they do not need attention and training. Small mammals and rodents enjoy frequent time spent out of their cage in a safe environment. Cats are fairly independent and can be excellent choices for people who want the option of cuddling a pet without having to spend lots of time on walks and training. Dogs need daily exercise, playtime, and training and chew toys, but are great in returning your affection, and providing exercise for your kids.
If you’re the sort of person who tends to buy things on impulse and who loves novelty or something new, think carefully before getting a new pet. That cute baby tortoise could grow into a huge reptile, and the adorable puppy you want will need lots of attention and training. After the novelty of the pet wears off, real life will sink in. Pets require work, and it’s important that you be able to put in the necessary time, energy and money. If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to fully commit to this, reconsider getting a pet.
Despite the work involved in bringing a new animal into your life, the rewards can be immense. Even small-brained reptiles can bond strongly with their owners, and a pet guarantees you’ll always have someone in your house who loves you. Make sure you’re prepared to return that love! Did you find these tips useful to consider before getting a pet? Any other pet tips you want to share?
Guest post. Jane is an animal rescuer, a freelance writer and a dedicated traveler. One of her most memorable combination trips was to the Maldives, where she lived on a boat for 10 days, scuba diving with big critters. Fortunately, the animals she sees underwater are not looking for a new home! When at home, she offers tips and reviews on her blog, Pamper the Pets.
Photos in this post are animals up for adoption at my local humane society.