A pet is for life, not just for summer. Or so the seasonally updated saying goes. The question is this; are you thinking about bringing one into your family? Should your answer be in the affirmative, then you’ll know that this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Because once they’re installed in the familial home, it’s round the clock care and attention, consideration, cleaning, walking and the rest. That’s an expensive, time consuming habit if your heart’s not in it. On the flipside, introducing a new pet into your home can be a mutually loving, rewarding experience for all. Fall into the latter camp, with these; our 4 IDEAL things to consider before choosing a pet for your family home.

HOW MUCH DO YOU VALUE YOUR TIME?

Do you like to go away alot? Do you value your holidays and time off? Do you find it hard to get off the sofa once you’re parked there for the evening? If so, you might want to rethink this whole pet thing. Though not all animals were born equal in terms of the attention they require, most furry friends need daily nurturing, in one way or another. Dogs especially require a significant portion of your time each day. They must be fed, exercised and cleaned up after. Other pets, like fish, turtles, birds and small animals like hamsters, guinea pigs and rats demand less care, but still need you to be there. Though boarding your dog at reliable places like premierdogwalkers.com indeed gives you peace of mind, do ask yourself how much you value your time before introducing one into the family.

IS YOUR HOME PET FRIENDLY?

Having a pet is a lot like having a child – and as such you have to pet proof your home before it arrives. It’s an undertaking, make no mistake; you need to clear your home of any hazards, secure any cabinets at pet level, not store chemicals on the floor, mind no electric cords are within reach and many more precautions. And depending on the type of pet you want to get, forget about having nice things. That expensive persian rug will have to go in the attic, your sofas will get scratched and your favourite jumper will likely become their favourite blanket; and we all know who wins that battle.

BE AWARE OF THE EXPENSE

It’s easy to overlook the sheer cost of the decision in the excitement of getting a new pet, but it’s a crucial aspect to consider. Have you ever thought about how much that doggie in the window cost, over the course of yours and its life? Research shows that your dog could set you back a whopping £33,000 over its lifetime, one of commitments to treats, food, care and insurance, amongst other things. And it’s not just the pooches pushing the pounds; the PDSA estimates that it will cost most owners at least £12,000 to care for a cat, with the monthly cost at around £70. These are just the minimum cost estimated costs, too, which don’t take into account costs outside of their basic welfare needs like health problems and hefty vet bills.

Of course, generally speaking, the smaller pet you get, the less expensive it’ll be, though it’s estimated that monthly expenses for hamsters, including food, bedding and litter will add up to roughly £115. So, if you’re anticipating a period of financial instability, be sure to factor your new pet into any family budget before leaping into a decision.

PETS MAKE YOU HAPPY

Finally, and most pertinently, the flipside. Dogs (and, we think, pets in general) are said to be a ‘(wo)man’s best friend’ and it’s no wonder why; they are loyal, devoted, affectionate and will pretty much love you unconditionally. There is something about having a furry little critter by your side which chimes with the both of you, make no mistake. Companionship for life? Sign us up. Yep, while pets are indeed a huge responsibility, study after study shows that pets make us happier and healthier, in so many different ways, from improving our mental health to making us fitter physically. So, although the undertaking is immense, a furry friend is most definitely worth it in our eyes. Because you can’t put a price on happiness.

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