Many people find puppies and kittens cute and cuddly, and think they want one as a pet. However, caring for pets is a big responsibility that is not always considered ahead of time. According to the Humane Society of the United States, this accounts for many of the 6 million to 8 million pets that end up in shelters each year due to owner's inability to care for them. It is first critical to evaluate the disadvantages of having a pet before deciding to get one.
Caring for a pet is a lifetime commitment. Most cats and dogs live approximately 15 years, but this can vary due to health and breed considerations. All throughout their life they need nutritious food, clean water, shelter, medical care, training, grooming and lots of attention. A person's lifestyle considerations must be considered when thinking about a pet, as some breeds are more active and require more exercise, space and care than others. For people who like to travel, considerations should be given to what to do with the pet when they're out of town if they are unable to take them along on trips.
Having a pet requires a lot of time and attention. Pets thrive on interaction with their humans, and those who are ignored can develop behaviour problems. Dogs, for example, need to be exercised and played with daily. If they do not have the opportunity to spend their energy in a positive way, they will often turn to destructive behaviours such as chewing or digging. Obedience training and socialisation are important ways to instil good behaviours, while averting others, but this requires quality time daily.
According to the ASPCA, it is estimated that the lifetime cost of having a pet averages £3,900 to £4,550 per animal. This accounts for basic expenses like food, supplies, preventive vet care, permanent identification and licenses and spaying or neutering. This figure does not account for any health conditions or unexpected problems that occur during their lifetime. When a pet gets into its senior years, the medical costs can dramatically increase.
Owning or renting, house or apartment, providing a suitable environment takes some work. People who are fastidious about their surroundings may not be content with pet hair, muddy footprints or the occasional mess to clean up. Living spaces need to be "pet proofed" by putting dangerous chemicals and other hazards out of reach, such as certain plants that are toxic to pets. As for space, apartments may be suitable for cats and small dogs, but larger dogs tend to need more room. Often renting with a pet becomes a challenging endeavour. Many rental properties do not allow pets at all; while others have strict limitations and impose costly deposits and additional fees to have them. Many times people will have to move during the course of a pet's lifetime, making all of these considerations something to think about.