Schools, restaurants, bars, museums, zoos, sporting events, etc. closed? Is the family literally not going ANYWHERE for the next month? What better time to add a four-legged member to the family? Think of all the joy and laughter a four-legged family member could bring to your household. Before you make that leap here’s a few things to consider.
Is this pet just filling a temporary void?
Everything you’ve literally been looking forward to for the next 3 months has been cancelled, kids field trips, that 8th grade class trip to DC, school dances, sporting events, plays, etc. You can’t even take the family out for a movie or dinner to lift their spirits, or Church Sunday morning to pray. You’re all quite literally just hanging out in the confines of your home. Who wouldn’t want a pick-me-up? And what better way to bring joy into the family than by adopting a pet. A pet can’t come into a home with a main responsibility of making you happy!
Have you considered the long-term responsibility?
Sure the short term responsibilities of having a pet right now don’t seem too serious. After all we aren’t going anywhere for awhile and having the family home to help house-break a pet is beneficial. But what about once the quarantine is lifted? What happens to that pet once everyone goes back to their lives outside the home? When the family is suddenly very busy again with weekend activities, out of town vacations, etc.? If a pet wasn’t a good fit for your family before the quarantine, chances are they won’t be a good fit after.
Have you budgeted the financial obligations of this pet?
ONE-TIME COSTS for dogs….
- Purchase price, adoption fee, or re-homing fee.
- Spay or neuter surgery.
- Permanent identification. Microchip or ID of some type for your dog in case he gets lost.
- Initial shots/vaccines. Puppies in particular need additional vaccines to protect their immature immune systems.
- Although it’s not a necessity, a fenced yard is ideal for dog owners.
- Socialization and obedience classes.
- Food and treats. Bigger dogs tend to eat more than smaller ones, and thus cost more to feed.
- Licensing costs. Most municipalities will require that your dog be licensed every year.
- Regular vet check-ups.
- This includes nail trimming, coat care, etc.
- Boarding or travel costs. (Source)
Have you considered Unexpected Expenses?
Expecting the unexpected, an emergency, accident, or a serious illness, and preparing for it financially. In addition to unplanned veterinary visits, here are some other types of unexpected costs to consider:
- Carpet cleaning due to accidents,
- Replacing grass or fixing landscaping where a dog did some digging,
- Replacing couch cushions or other furniture chewed on by a teething puppy,
- Replacing shoes and clothing chewed by a teething puppy (Source)
Also remember that elderly pets often require frequent visits to the Vet, might require expensive surgery, medications, and a change in their diet with prescribed special foods/treats.
Are you entering this relationship with a “trial run” mentality?
Like any relationship owning a pet isn’t one your family should enter into lightly. You need to have an ALL-IN mentality. It is one that needs to be taken seriously. Do your research ahead of time, research the various pet options, possible breeds, how they interact with children, how much time they require, etc. There is nothing worse than bringing home a pet your family, and more importantly, your children fall in love with only to have it removed from the home a few months down the road due to a lack of research on your part.
Are your prepared with the questions you need to ask before adopting?
- Ask the shelter if they will spay or neuter, provide vaccines, and insert a microchip and if there are any special medical conditions they are aware of?
- Why was the dog surrendered?
- Has the dog undergone a behavioral assessment?
- Has the dog ever bitten anyone?
- Can the dog be left alone?
- Does the dog guard food or toys from people or other dogs?
- How does the dog behave when walked on a leash?
- Was the dog adopted and returned to the shelter before? (Dogs that have been adopted and returned to the shelter often have behavioral problems. They get returned quickly because they display the unwanted behavior almost immediately once taken home.) Source
After carefully considering all the above questions if you have come to the conclusion that a pet is the perfect addition to your family, I say, congratulations! Being a Pet Owner requires a lot of responsibility but the rewards are endless!
What are your thoughts, is there ever a “perfect” time to adopt a pet?
Resources that might be helpful:
Introducing a New Pet in Your Household
Check List of Supplies You’ll Need for Your New Family Member
CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Responsibility Chart