A woman smiles as she receives a kiss from her dog featured as the blog banner of Augusta Dog Training's article "5 Things You Should Consider Before Getting a Pet"

Humans have kept pets for thousands of years. Building a bond with a creature from another species boosts our empathy, and provides us with a source of love, companionship, and play. Having a pet is also a big commitment. The old cliche of a child begging for a puppy, promising to take care of them, and then failing to deliver is a joke parents often like to share. Unfortunately, there’s truth in this cliche, and not just for kids. Each year, people bring pets home without fully understanding what they’re getting into. More than a million households surrender pets each year, adding to the over 6 million pets who enter shelters annually. There are a number of reasons people surrender or rehome their pets, many of which could be prevented by careful planning and consideration prior to taking a furry companion home. 

1. Consider Your Finances

Having a pet is costly. From food, treats, enclosures, and toys, to training, pet sitting, and veterinary care, the cost of pet ownership can easily reach four figures annually. Each year, almost half of the pets surrendered or rehomed are given up because of the cost of caring for them. If you’re interested in having a pet, you first need to sit down with your finances to determine if your budget allows for bringing an animal companion home, and if so, what sort of pet you can afford. Research the annual expenses you should expect, including potential emergency expenses. Providing insufficient care or giving a beloved animal up is traumatic for pets and humans alike. If money is a concern, there may be local services available that reduce certain costs, but make sure these are secure before getting your pet. 

2. Consider Your Housing

If you’re a renter or part of a homeowners association, there may be restrictions on the types of pets, if any, that you’re allowed to have. To avoid being forced to give up your pet or potentially lose your housing, make sure to research these thoroughly. Unstable housing is one of the leading causes of pet surrender. If your housing is currently unstable, it’s important to wait to get a pet until you can ensure proper shelter for both of you. Another consideration with housing is whether or not your pet will have the space they need. Don’t bring large pets into spaces that lack access for running and playing. If you’re interested in having a cat, do you have the proper space for controlling the spread of little box odor? 

3. Consider Who You Live With

Not all pets are good fits for all people. Reptiles and lizards can pose health risks to young children and the eldery. Pet rodents and cat litter can be dangerous for pregnant women. Children often need observation and instruction when handling a pet, so if you’re planning to bring a pet into a home with kids you’ll need to consider their abilities and personalities, and what sort of animal they can safely engage with. It’s also important to consider any allergies members of your household may have. In addition to the human members of your home, consider the needs and behaviors of your existing pets. Plan to meet a potential new pet together to ensure that it’s a good and safe fit for all parties. 

4. Consider Your Time and Patience

Pet can demand a lot of their human’s time, energy, and patience. Before you get a pet, you need to consider how much of these you have to offer and choose a pet that fits your needs and abilities. Puppies and kittens, while adorable, require a lot of direct attention. If you’re away from home during the day, don’t have the time to dedicate to training, or have a short fuse when it comes to accidents in the house, you should avoid bringing these fur babies home. Likewise, shelter animals and animals with special needs may require more time and patience than you’re able to give. Be honest with yourself about your capabilities as a pet owner, and find a pet you can truly care  for.

5. Consider Why You Want a Pet

Many people get caught up in the cuteness of furry friends, and make their choice to adopt or buy a pet based on that alone. Animals age, just like humans do, and like us, some aspects of their cuteness can wain with the years. Ask yourself if you’d still want your pet if they behave badly, get cranky in their old age, or end up having special needs.  Make sure your goal in having a pet is more focused on building a special bond and giving a creature a good life, and less focused on aesthetic fondness. Additionally, if you’re seeking a pet to bring more love into your life, be thorough in your search and interact with your future pet before bringing them home. 

Train Your Dog With Augusta Dog Training

If you’ve decided that a pet is right for you and you choose to bring a dog or puppy into your home, make sure you set them up for success with professional dog training. Augusta Dog Training has offered customized dog training to the Twin Cities for more than two decades. With in-home, boarding, and daycare training available, Augusta Dog Training provides training for dogs and puppies of all experience levels and abilities, tailored for each pup’s needs. Call one of our offices to set up an initial consultation and evaluation, or visit us online at augustadogtraining.com.