Anytime my three year old sees a dog she either asks if she can have that one, or if we can get another dog to live with us. As a fellow animal lover, she comes by wanting it honestly but we simply cannot have a dog for a number of different reasons but this doesn’t stop her from asking.
A pet is a huge responsibility, especially a dog. One of the big reasons I wouldn’t bring a dog into our lives right now is because we have an incredibly stressed out cat who suffers from IBS and I’m sure the stress of any other animal in the house would be enough to set off her IBS bad enough that it kills her. It would be totally unfair for us to do that to her.
I’ve always had pets growing up, cats, fish, hamsters, birds and dogs. We were big into animals but now that I’m a homeowner, mother and pet caretaker I have a totally different perspective on animals and the responsibility that comes with it. We can’t even go away overnight without having our cat looked after since she’s on such a strict feeding schedule.
So many families take on the responsibility of a pet without thinking it through and it doesn’t always end well. There are a few things that need to be considered before you bring any pet into the picture, regardless of your family situation.
Can you afford it?
Pets are expensive. To properly care for an animal they, at the very least, need regular food and exams. Expect extras too, in our case it’s expensive prescription cat food and multiple vet visits per year. All of these expenses need to fit into our budget. The cost of owning a pet goes beyond simply paying the pet store or adoption agency the initial fee.
Does it work for your family lifestyle?
Even before we had kids a pet like a dog wouldn’t work for us. We’re not home enough and for an animal like a dog, which needs to be let out regularly and walked, we simply can’t do it. We also like to travel, even just to see family for a weekend, and a dog wouldn’t work. Consider your day-to-day schedule and see how owning a pet wold impact it. If you can’t make it work fairly for both you and animal it’s not a good time.
Who will care for the animal?
Another huge reason we won’t have a dog anytime soon is because my husband doesn’t have much interest in caring for one. He’s being fair and honest. I would hate for him to push me to have one leading me on to believe he’d help when I know it’s not something he’s interested in right now. With busy careers and a toddler running around I don’t want to be stuck doing everything myself which is precisely how it will be. For years my mom wouldn’t allow my sister to get a hamster because she knew very well she wouldn’t do stuff like clean it’s cage so until she proved herself she didn’t get one.
Pets take up more time and energy than I think most families realize. While I totally sympathize with wanting all things cute and fuzzy, unless you’re prepared to care for the pet on all fronts it may not be the best plan for your family. It can just lead to unnecessary stress.
Catherine is a first time momma to a rambunctious toddler. When she isn’t soaking up all that motherhood has to offer, you can find her blogging over at Plunged in Debt where she chronicles her and her husbands journey out of debt. You can also follow her on Twitter.