Believe it or not, deciding on a pet as a couple can be difficult. First, you have to look at the options. Pets are not limited to just dogs and cats. Ferrets, rabbits, and snakes are also family pets in some homes. Here are some things to consider when you and your spouse decide to get a pet.
Your living situation and choosing a pet
If you live in an apartment, certain pets are probably not allowed. Some landlords allow only dogs or only cats, and some allow no pets at all, but that rule doesn’t usually include things like goldfish. Even if your landlord allows certain pets, you still need to make sure that what you choose will be allowed. For example, some landlords may allow dogs but have breed restrictions or size limits. Consulting with your landlord to get the restrictions prior to deciding is your best bet, and could save you some heartache in the future.
If you live in a house, you need to think about what kind of space you have. Is it a large space or a small space? Do you have a yard? You don’t want a Great Dane living in a really small home with no yard!
Allergies and choosing a pet
Do you have allergies? Some people are allergic to pet dander, in which case, you might want to go with something hairless. Obviously, you could choose fish, or reptiles, however, there are also hairless dogs and cats. If you choose this route, make sure that you spend time with the pet before bringing it home. Even if a dog or cat is deemed “hypo-allergenic”, you may still be allergic… there really is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic dog.
Finances and choosing a pet
What do your finances look like? Some pets are more expensive than others – consider vet bills and the price of food for bigger animals. Do your research to see what kind of money is involved in caring for the type of pet you want. Some may need heating lamps, and fish can require expensive equipment.
Children and choosing a pet
Do you have children, or nieces and nephews that visit a lot? You’ll need a pet that’s good with kids, or one that can be easily kept away from children if they are not good with them.
Your daily routine and choosing a pet
Do you work a lot? Go away a lot? Pets, especially dogs, are a huge commitment. They need to be walked frequently and crave attention. Cats, rabbits, and ferrets are happy to do their own thing and use a litter box, so you don’t have to worry about them if you work 10 hour days. If you go away a lot, consider the fact that you will have to hire someone to take care of your pet while you’re gone, either in a kennel type atmosphere or by having someone come to your home to do it. Again, this figures into the finances required to keep your pet. A kennel or daycare can get expensive when used too often!
Once you’ve made your decision
Once you’ve taken all of these things into consideration and decided on what kind of pet you want, you need to both be present to make the choice of which one to bring home. Let’s use dogs as an example. You go to the pet store, and you’re in love with the German Shepard, and your husband is interested in the Chinese Crested. You don’t want an ankle biter, and he doesn’t want something that barks a lot. You have to compromise. Find something you both love. If you can’t do that on the first trip, go home, think about it, and try again another day. There will always be pets looking for homes.
Taking on a family pet – whether through purchase, adoption, or finding a stray on your doorstep – is a big commitment. It’s not fair to you, your spouse, or the pet to jump in without thinking it through first. The love you’ll receive from the new member of your family, though, is definitely worth it.
Do you have a pet? How did you decide what to get?