There are many things to consider when thinking about getting a new pet. A cat, dog or any other kind of pet is essentially like gaining a new member of the family and needs serious consideration. You need to think about the time, money and commitment required to provide proper care for an animal.
The first, and most important, thing to consider is whether you’ve got enough time to spend with a new pet, particularly if it’s a dog. If you already have a busy schedule with school runs and extracurricular activities to squeeze in then finding time to take your dog for a walk may cause added stress. However, there may be ways to adjust your schedule to suit everyone’s needs. Maybe you could all walk to school and take the dog along with you, or maybe you could switch up your gym routine and take your dog for a run in the woods instead?
The second most important thing to consider is whether you can afford a new pet. There are a lot of elements that need paying for when it comes to caring for an animal, from food, to toys, to sufficient medical care. The PDSA recently found that 98% of pet owners had underestimated the lifetime cost, with many dog owners estimating it to be £500 when in reality it can be as much as £33,000 depending on the breed. Totallymoney.com have a handy calculator on their website to help you estimate these costs more accurately.
If you don’t think you’ve got the time or cash flow to designate to a dog, there are other options that require far less commitment. For example, guinea pigs make a great first pet for younger children as they capable of tolerating a more ‘lively’ playtime and are very social. Rabbits can seem like a good option but are actually more hard work than people think. They can be quite destructive and don’t like to be handled.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget that it’s meant to be a fun and happy experience and try not to get too stressed!