There are many reasons why owning a pet is so common among families and households of all sizes and lifestyles. Caring for an animal can be extremely rewarding and can teach positive life lessons about responsibility and patience. Additionally, the bond you create with your pet can enrich your life and make you happier whenever you get to spend time together.
Though there are many benefits to owning a pet, there are also certain drawbacks to keep in mind, as well as some lifestyle factors that could make it irresponsible to adopt a pet in the first place. These factors will vary greatly depending on the type of pet you’re interested in.
Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet
Before you take the plunge and adopt an animal, it’s important to think seriously about how doing so might affect your budget, your lifestyle, and the dynamic within your home.
No matter what type of pet you end up getting, pet ownership requires some monthly costs that can range from less than $100 to multiple hundreds of dollars per month. This includes food costs, training, toys, accessories, vet visits, medications and vaccinations, and caging or kenneling materials.
In addition to the financial piece of the puzzle, you need to make sure your lifestyle is conducive to owning a pet.
If you don’t have the time and energy to give your pet the care and attention they need, adopting could prove to be an irresponsible decision. Not only will you feel overwhelmed and stressed about your pet’s well-being, but your pet won’t receive the care they need, which could lead to health issues or other adverse outcomes.
Many families decide to adopt a pet because they have children who are excited about the idea and promise to help care for it.
Taking care of an animal can be a great way to teach kids about responsibility, but an adult should always supervise the duties performed by kids, including feeding, cleaning, grooming, and administering medicines. As such, families should only take on the duties of ownership if the adults of the household can fit animal care into their lifestyle.
Pros and Cons Based on Pet Type
Now that you understand a few of the general considerations that come with getting any kind of pet, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of owning and caring for specific types of animals.
Dogs are one of the most popular types of pets, and for good reason. They develop affectionate bonds with their owners, are extremely loyal, and exhibit unique personalities. In certain parts of the world, dogs can even be useful for certain occupations, such as herding cattle or hunting game.
Though there are many benefits to owning a dog, there are also certain drawbacks.
Your dog must be properly trained and socialized, as an overly protective or aggressive dog can pose serious safety risks to its owners, as well as guests or neighbors. Dogs also require regular veterinary care, vaccinations, and preventive medications over their lifespan, which can be anywhere from eight to 20 years, depending on the breed.
This is all in addition to monthly food costs, which could climb to hundreds of dollars depending on your dog’s size and eating habits. Having the right lifestyle to care for a dog is also crucial. Though exercise and mental stimulation needs vary based on breed, all dogs need a certain level of activity each day in order to stay happy and healthy.
If you think you would enjoy owning a dog, make sure you’re taking your lifestyle and budget into account before making the decision to adopt.
Cats are another common pet. Though most cats are less energetic and affectionate than dogs, they still have distinct personalities and ways of showing love for their owners and the people they’ve bonded with. Their affinity for hunting rodents can also be a bonus, especially on farms where mice and rats can be a problem.
Cats are a much better choice for owners who have busy schedules and can’t be available for constant exercise or attention throughout the day. Monthly food costs are also typically lower for cats due to their smaller size and less active lifestyle.
Cats should be taken for regular vet check-ups and vaccinations just like dogs, and they can suffer from many of the same health issues that dogs can. However, you won’t need to worry about having to pay for expensive training classes for your cat or let them out to use the bathroom during the day as long as you have a litter box set up.
If you’re not sure whether a dog or cat is the right fit for your lifestyle and preferences, there are many other types of pets to consider that could provide some of the same benefits without all the work and financial challenges.
Hamsters and guinea pigs are great low-maintenance pets for people who don’t have a lot of time to care for an animal but want to learn responsibility and have a furry companion to bond with. Though these animals aren’t known for being quite as friendly as dogs and cats, they still have unique personalities that shine through when you play with them.
You’ll still need to budget appropriately for food, toys, and bedding each month with a guinea pig or hamster. Furthermore, these animals typically live in cages that need regular cleaning to ensure the health and safety of both them and their owners.
Make Sure You’re Ready for the Responsibility
No matter what kind of pet you decide to adopt, it’s important to think over all of the responsibilities — and expenses — that will come with it. New pet owners can expect to make a few mistakes along the way, but as long as you know what you’re getting into and make sure you’re as prepared as possible, you’re guaranteed to have a great experience with your new companion.