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Considerations When Choosing a New Pet

Close up: Person holding a new pet puppy.

At least 85 million households in the U.S. own a pet. Cats and dogs are among the most popular, but some people prefer other types of pets like reptiles, rabbits, fish, birds, or horses. Becoming a pet owner involves additional responsibilities in your daily life, so providing a great living environment is vital. Depending on your situation, you might want a less demanding and friendly pet. This article looks into important considerations to be aware of when choosing a new pet.

1. Your Ability to Bear the Financial Cost

Pets aren’t free, regardless of how you acquire them. Even when someone gives you a pet for free, you’ll still spend money on maintenance and care. Typically, the price you pay to acquire a pet is negligent compared to the amount you’ll spend to feed and maintain the pet.

While some medical expenses, like parasite control, immunizations, dental care, and neutering or spaying are predictable, it’s prudent to budget for unexpected medical costs. The average food cost depends on your pet’s type, age, size, and health condition. Often regular pet food is sufficient throughout the pet’s life cycle, however, you may be required to purchase special diet food due to unforeseen health issues.

Moreover, certain pets like dogs and horses require advanced training and grooming. The miscellaneous costs may be small, but they add up over the pet’s lifetime.

2. Your Lifestyle and Schedule

It’s important to consider your physical activity levels before buying a pet. Some pets require regular outdoor time for exercise and to satisfy their natural roaming instincts.

For instance, if you want a dog but like to remain indoors all day, some breeds are inappropriate. This is because certain breeds require high amounts of physical activity while others are more docile.

Your schedule is vital since the pet requires your care and attention. Therefore, review your schedule to determine if you have time to look after the pet you choose. Alternatively, you may need someone else in the household to take responsibility when you’re unavailable. This is an important discussion to have with all household members before getting a new pet.

Some pets, like fish and reptiles, are low-maintenance and can survive for days without close attention. On the other hand, cats and dogs require daily attention for feeding, outdoor walks, and bonding. However, it’s possible to have a demanding pet despite your busy schedule, but you may need to hire pet-sitting services to compensate for your absence.

3. Number and Type of Pets in Your Household

Having multiple pets can be excellent as it can relieve boredom by offering companionship. This can work well when all pets are raised together. But introducing new pets into a house with other pets can lead to coexistence issues. Some pets don’t like competition at home, and others won’t blend. For instance, birds and cats often won’t coexist well as a cat’s natural instinct is to prey on the bird. In addition, pets like hamsters are highly territorial and can pick serious fights with other hamsters in the same territory.

4. Consider the Local Pet Laws

It’s important to determine if your local laws limit the type and number of pets a household can have. For instance, some cities allow a maximum of two dogs, and some areas have zoning restrictions that don’t permit pigs or chickens. Similarly, most apartment homeowners’ associations limit pet ownership based on breed and temperament. Before you buy a new pet, it’s critical to ensure you’re not contravening existing regulations.

If you live in a rented home, check if the owner permits certain pets on the premises. Some neighborhoods may even ban certain pets due to religious and security reasons.


Adopting a new pet can be rewarding, but ensuring the experience is trouble-free is important for both you and your pet. Therefore, assess your situation to determine whether you are truly ready to cover the expenses and provide additional support your pet will need. Moreover, talk with your family to ensure they are all comfortable with the choice and extra responsibilities.