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Read This Before Getting a Pet

Pets can provide companionship and love that makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy and they can enrich your life in many ways. However, pets are not only bundles of joy, they are also a huge responsibility. I recently got a dog and I love her to death, but it did not come without a lot of contemplation and realistic thinking about what it meant to have a dog. Here’s some advice that I think everyone needs to hear before getting a pet, especially us college students.

  1. Pets cost money. This may seem obvious, but it can still take you by surprise. You have to make sure to get flea and heartworm medicine, shampoo, food, a bed, etc., and anything extra that they may need. This may seem daunting, but it’s actually not that bad – the big cost when first getting a pet is the most expensive part and most of it will either be a one-time or every couple of months expense, so it ends up being pretty manageable.
  2. They’re living and breathing beings. Just like humans, pets will need to be taken out or trained to use the bathroom inside (depending on the animal you get), they need to be fed and given water. They also have feelings, too. They need attention and love just like we do. Leaving them alone for long periods of time can be lonely for them, which might lead to misbehavior out of boredom or loneliness, so keep that in mind.
  3. They can have anxiety and stress. Pets can experience anxiety and stress just like we can, and it’s important to pay attention to when they are acting strangely so you can figure out why. Everyone will be happier when you understand what makes them uncomfortable.
  4. It’ll take some time to get used to each other. There’s going to be a learning curve that comes with getting a new pet; not only will the two of you have to figure out how each other lives, you’ll have to get used to your respective personalities. Your quirks, your habits, and everything in between will have to adjust to living with a pet, but, once you get used to it, your pet will be your best friend.
  5. Think about the age of the pet you’re thinking about getting. If you’re really busy and will be gone for long periods of time during the day, a baby animal may not be the best option. Plus, if you have a ton of chewable items that a puppy or kitten may find desirable, it can cost a lot to replace torn up items. My dog is 5 years old, house trained, well-socialized with people and animals, and sleeps through the night, which is good for my lifestyle. Plus, older dogs don’t get adopted at the same rate as puppies, so not only did I get a pet suitable to my life, I also saved her from being in the shelter for a long time. My dog and I still developed an incredibly strong bond, though, so give some thought to your pet’s age before adopting. There will be one out there for you!

When thinking about getting a pet, whether it be a cat, dog, bearded dragon, fish, or something more exotic, really take the time to think about what is the right choice for you. While the factors that I listed are not everything to consider, they’re at least a starting point when making this decision. Pets can change your life for the better and can prove to be the best companions, so if you’re looking to adopt a new pet, welcome them with open arms! One more thing – ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!