Having pets in your life undoubtedly makes everything more enjoyable—from outdoor adventures to snuggles on the couch. But are you ready for a new pet in your life? Adding another furry friend to your family is a massive decision that everyone involved needs to agree upon and prepare for.
Because getting another pet is a big responsibility, it’s important to consider all aspects of your life and living situation before committing to a new animal.
Here are 22 questions to ask before you bring another pet into your life.
1. Are You Allowed to Have Another Pet Where You Live?
This is especially crucial if you live in rented or shared accommodations. Some property managers will compromise if you already have a pet but will prohibit adding a second one into the mix.
Additionally, check if your terms preclude certain pet types, breeds, or sizes—a property could accept small, caged animals but refuse big, free-roam dogs. German shepherds and Pitbulls are among a few breeds prohibited in some apartment complexes. And while some dogs may be allowed, that does not mean they are suitable for apartment living. You will want to pick breeds that thrive in an apartment setting.
2. Are You in a Stable Place?
You might be in a good position for another pet now, but what about later—where will you be in the coming years? Travel, promotions, and moving will all affect you and your new pet. Especially if your pet breed lives a long and healthy life, you need to ask yourself if your stability will last up to 15 years or more.
3. Does Another Pet Fit Your Lifestyle?
It’s essential to look at all aspects of your lifestyle as well—are you adventurous or pleased with your daily routine? Take inventory of your life, home, and circumstances. Depending on your lifestyle, a pet that can either keep up on adventures or one that can settle into a calm routine may be ideal.
Additionally, what kind of pet would best suit you? Take your activity levels, possible allergies, and basic preferences into consideration to ensure you are pleased with the new addition. For more information on how to determine which pet is best for you and your current circumstances, check out our blog on dogs vs. cats to find out which pet best suits you.
4. How Often are You Home?
How much time will the pet be spending at home without you between work and your social life? Because unattended pets can easily become restless, noisy, or destructive. Try to figure out your home and away schedule as solidly as you can before bringing a pet home for the sake of both of you!
5. Is Everyone in the House Prepared for Another Pet?
Because having another pet will impact all in the house, make sure everyone is on board. Family members can figure out who will be responsible for aspects of the new addition. Are any roommates willing to help with pet care? Before any more pets come home, ensure someone will always be there to feed and walk them.
6. Do You Have Children?
While your kids and current pets might get along great, a new addition might not be so friendly. Are the children in the house old enough to be dependable around a new pet? Even so, it’s still a good idea to focus on a breed of pet that is patient, playful, and confident, without aggression issues or a low prey drive.
7. Are Your Pets Ready for Another Pet?
Adding a new pet to your life will inevitably have a great impact on the lives of your current pets, so it’s best to make sure they are also ready for this adjustment. How will your pets react? Some animals can be aggressive towards new pets, so ensure your furry friend will be fine with socializing with the new addition.
Some types of pets work better together than others, based primarily on their temperaments and dispositions. Dogs can typically welcome a new cat or puppy with no significant issues, but adding a bird or small mammal to a cat-dominated household might cause problems. Consider the natural predator/prey aspect of the pets already at home.
8. Is Your New Pet Ready for Your Home Situation?
Furthermore, is the new addition fit for your home situation? Make sure the animal is friendly towards pets or children, is not too noisy if you live in an apartment, and other such considerations. A pet that does not fit into your home circumstances is a disaster waiting to happen.
9. Is Your House Fit for Another Pet?
Similarly, is your house prepared for another animal? Pets take up quite a bit of space, even if they are small mammals like hamsters, let alone a Great Dane. Are all parts of your house safe for a pet to live there, including cords and plants? Consider your furnishings, too—can you handle shedding, the occasional mess, or a gnawed table?
10. Can You Afford Another Pet?
This is one of the most significant considerations—pets are an expensive part of life, with special food, surprise medical issues, and more that can strain any wallet. Can you afford to add another pet to your lifestyle? The last thing you want is to adopt a new pet and not be able to care for it if something unexpected should come up.
11. Do You Have Time to Devote to Another Pet?
This may seem obvious, but adding a new pet to your life does increase the time needed to care for everyone properly. Your new addition will need some training to fit into your schedule between regular exercise, playtime, and other routines. Do you have enough time to devote to a new pet without stressing anyone out?
12. Can You Exercise Your Pet Regularly?
Not every pet requires the same amount of exercise. Perhaps you are looking at adding an older dog to the family who only needs a walk around the block daily. But if you adopt a puppy or a more active animal, you need to ensure that you have the time and ability for regular exercise.
13. Do You Have the Proper Equipment?
Your new pet will need certain things to settle in properly. So before your new friend comes home, all the essentials need to be purchased and ready, including toys, bedding, food, and an ID tag, to name a few.
14. What Kind of Care Does the New Pet Require?
Different animals require different levels of grooming and special care to keep them healthy and happy. For instance, Sphinx cats need regular baths and dirt buildup removal. Are you able to provide this care regularly for your new pet? Research the species or breed and ensure you can fulfill their particular needs without hassle.
15. How Much Patience Do You Have?
When it comes to young pets or pets that require training, ask yourself how much patience you have—puppies undoubtedly need more time put into training and will test your patience. Are you prepared for the adjustment period, being up all night, messes, and possible destruction of your property?
16. Do You Have a Vet Selected?
Your new pet will need a vet, not only for emergencies but also for regular checkups and possibly spaying or neutering.
If you are looking at adopting a pet that isn’t a cat or dog, such as a bird or rodent, make sure the vet has the capacity for that species—some more exotic pets require specially trained vets.
17. Have You Organized for Spaying or Neutering?
This is more applicable when it comes to dogs and cats, but other small mammals like rats and rabbits also need to be considered. Spaying and neutering will prevent unplanned litters and help with hormonal behavioral issues, so it’s essential to arrange for it beforehand.
18. What Will You Do With Your Pet When You Go on Vacation?
While you can certainly take most pets with you when traveling, it is a crucial consideration before bringing a new pet home. Ensure that you have a reliable friend or pet-sitting service for those times when you cannot bring your pets with you.
19. Where Will You Get Your Pet From?
Shelters, breeders, family members—pets can come from many places. It’s generally a good idea to avoid pet shops, as these animals can be severely unwell; shelters and adoption services are best. But when adopting or rescuing a pet, it’s also important to spend plenty of time getting to know them before they come home with you.
20. Why Do You Want Another Pet?
Finally, it’s time to ask yourself the most important question—why do you want to bring another pet into your life? If it’s time to add to your furry family, and you have all the preparations and knowledge for bringing a new pet home, then power to you! Ensure a new pet is being added for the right reasons. Shelters are full of ‘temporary’ pets that got tossed aside once they got too big or old. So only buy a pet if you know you will be able to keep it long-term.
Now that you have answered all 20 questions, it is time to ask yourself one more important question. Am I ready for a new pet? If you answered yes, congratulations, and enjoy looking for the newest addition to your family. If you answered no, don’t stress too much because if you aren’t ready now, it doesn’t mean you won’t be tomorrow or the day after that.