Okay, so you saw the neighbour’s cute little Lhasa Apso and went “Aww! I want one too!” Well, before you dash off to the pet shop and return with a four-legged friend, you might want to step back and think a little. Some impulsive decisions may be fun – becoming a pet parent isn’t one of them. Here is a seven-point checklist you should run yourself by before taking the plunge.
Do you have enough time?
A pet doesn’t merely survive on food and water. It needs to be walked, trained, cuddled, played with and occasionally pampered. Can you spare time for all this? If not, your pet will lead a lonely existence and probably perish from lack of attention.
Can you afford it?
Keeping a pet is no frugal business. All pets demand a slice out of your bank balance – some more than others. Food, visits to the vet, medicines, grooming products, supplements, specialty enclosures all cost money. Analyze your financial situation carefully before you decide to add another member to your household.
Do you travel a lot?
If you travel often for work or leisure, you will have to make sure that your pet is taken care of while you are gone. Do you have a friend or family member who you can trust to look after the animal in your absence? If not, you might want to explore pet-sitting facilities in your area or reconsider your decision.
Do you have enough space?
Pets, especially dogs, require space to play and move around. Is your house spacious enough for a lively, hyperactive animal? Keeping a large sized dog like a Saint Bernard in a boxy studio apartment will just make the animal feel caged and claustrophobic. In short, the size of your pet should be directly proportional to the size of your house.
Are you getting a pet for the right reasons?
Do you have a genuine love for animals or do you want an exotic pet merely as a status symbol? If the latter is the case, you probably won’t be able to give your pet the love and attention that it deserves. Don’t give in to social pressures – do what feels right for you and your lifestyle.
Are you prepared for the tough moments?
Having a pet in the house is not always fun and games. Animals might fall sick or get injured. In times like these, your pet will require extra care and attention. This may involve staying up nights, cleaning up their ablutions, dressing pus-filled wounds and feeding them by hand. If the thought of doing all this puts you off, you are probably not ready to be a pet parent.
Are you choosing the right pet?
Your personality and lifestyle will largely determine which kind of pet is a good fit for you. Dogs, for example, are high-maintenance and more emotionally demanding when compared to cats. Different breeds, too, have their own unique traits and talking to an experienced breeder will help you narrow down your options. Else, you can choose from guinea pigs, fish, mice and rabbits, especially if you are short on space.
Bringing home a pet is almost like having a baby – it changes your life in more ways than one. Are you ready for that kind of commitment?