Pet or Plant? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Pet
It’s hard to resist that furry face looking at you through the shelter or pet store window. For many, it’s downright painful to walk away. Pets are wonderful additions to any household or family. They’re always there when you need them, and their love is unconditional. But, with any good thing comes a caveat. Pets are a costly, needy, lengthy commitment. It can be worth it, but now is not always the time. Is now the right time for you to bring a new friend home? Ask yourself the following to find out:
Does your apartment allow pets?
Before bringing a pet home, always check your lease to see if you’re even allowed to have one, which pets are permitted and prohibited, and if you need to pay a pet deposit or monthly fee. In some leasing agreements, your pet’s weight will decide how much it’ll cost you, both up front and each month. A chihuahua might be an extra $50 per month, whereas a lab, pit bull or greyhound could cost you a lot more. The lease is a great document to refer back to about any questions you may have about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and adhering to it can save you a lot of grief and money.
Do your roommates want pets?
So your lease says you can get a pet — yay! Now, what do your roommates have to say? Are they allergic or just plain pet-averse? Coming home to an unexpected, furry roommate can be unnerving. Running it by your housemates is always the cool thing to do.
Other than all-around comfortability, it’s important to establish responsibility. Will you be the sole caretaker? Will you be expecting your roommates to let the dog out while you’re at work, or clean the cat’s litter box while you’re away for the weekend? Understanding what part you and your roommates play in managing the pet’s needs is the responsible approach to pet ownership. You don’t want to assume you can count on your roommates and leave your pet with no way to go to the bathroom or no guaranteed meal.
What kind of pet is it?
What’s your preference? Cat? Dog? Free-roaming ferret? Each requires its own level of time and maintenance. Make sure before committing to one that you’re able to provide what it needs.
If you’re looking to get a big dog, do you have the room for it? Are you home often enough to make sure it gets to move around outside often? If you’re always on the go, a dog might get needy or depressed from lack of attention. Consider a more independent animal in that case, like a cat.
Pet ownership is a two-sided relationship. You can’t expect an animal to be there when you need it and not give anything in return.
What are you going to do with it when you move?
You might not be in your current house or apartment forever. Consider the process of finding a pet-friendly place to rent before purchasing a pet now. So this landlord gives it the OK. That might not be the case at the next place you rent. What’s your plan for that situation?
Committing to an animal is accepting years of responsibility for that life. A dog could be with you for more than a decade — a cat for more than two! When you bring a pet into your family, you’re going to have to make considerations for it for years to come, and dumping it at the shelter when you no longer can or want to deal with it is not a responsible or kind option.
Do you have the money necessary for the ongoing support of a pet?
Similar to the last question, this one asks you to look at pet ownership as a long-term commitment. Puppies and kittens are great, but what about when they age into their gray years and things start to go wrong? Will you have the means necessary to fund medications or surgeries?
Even before the animal becomes a senior, it’s going to need regular vaccines. Can you afford the regular trips to the veterinarian? It’s not just food and toys that factor into the pet budget. Any haircuts, nail trimmings, and potentially training will mean money out of your pocket as well.
Do you want to opt for a nice plant instead?
Oof, a lot to consider there, huh? Who knew pet ownership could mean so many things? It’s almost like raising a child. Having second thoughts?
Plants are a great Plan B. They’re alive, they require care, but they’re not going to tear up your carpet or run into traffic. They won’t cost you hundreds or thousands in maintenance and care. And they add a bit of ambiance to any room. If you get basil, parsley, mint or anything similar, they’re useful as well, able to be incorporated into any meal — not recommended for domesticated pets.
This article is presented by Hometeam Property Management, Columbus, Ohio. Hometeam has one of the largest selections of single-family homes for rent in The Ohio State University district. All of our homes are newly or recently remodeled with hardwood floors, porches, decks, security systems and much more! Outside the campus area, we also own and manage multiple single-family homes and Luxury apartments around the Columbus area, including in German Village, Hilliard, Dublin, Grandview and Reynoldsburg. For more information, visit www.hometeamproperties.net.