Lots of people dream of getting their own pet. If you didn’t have pets when they were growing up, it’s a chance to finally fulfil their dream. If they did grow up with a cat or dog (or rabbit, or fish, or lizard) in the house, then finally getting your own pet can make it feel like you’ve finally arrived in adulthood!
Today we’re looking at the right time for you to get a pet: how will you know when you’ve reached it? It’s an important question to consider, as taking on a pet and then finding you don’t have the resources to care for it is a very sad state of affairs.
Providing a Home
The first thing you need to check is if you really can provide a safe, happy home for your chosen pet. If you’re renting, take a look at your contract – the majority of rental contracts in the UK have a ‘no pets’ clause. This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your pet-owner ambitions. More landlords than you might think are prepared to be flexible, and you have nothing to lose in asking.
You also need to look around your home and compare it with the needs of the pet you want to get. Do you have access to the outside, for toilet trips, playing and exploration? House training a dog without easy access to a garden can be a challenge, and while cats can be kept as indoor pets, you need to put in a lot of extra work to make sure they get all the stimulation they need.
If you get a pet will you be able to provide them with the appropriate medical help when they need it? If you don’t drive, then it might be difficult for you to get to a vet when you really need it. While online vet UK practices offer a lot of convenience, there are some key limitations: they can’t perform blood tests or physical exams or administer urgent medication. You’ll need access to a physical vet at some stage, so make sure you’re confident you can get there.
Taking on a pet is a financial responsibility. There’s no one else responsible for feeding and housing it. Try to budget how much your pet will likely cost you, month to month, and ensure it fits into your finances!
There’s food and pet insurance, but also potentially raised utility bills too. It’s also worth establishing a separate savings pot for emergencies and big costs like unexpected vet’s bills/
One of the most important things you can give a pet is time. Their needs obviously differ from pet to pet, so think about how much time your pet would need, and if you’d be able to give it to them. While a fish or lizard (or even a cat, depending on its temperament) could be happy being left to its own devices during a working day, if you have a full time job that requires you in the office or in a shop and you’d have to leave your dog at home alone, you may not be at the right stage in your life for this kind of pet.