Tired of the kids pleading and whining for a new pet? Don't cave yet; there are a few things to consider before deciding whether it's the right time to take on an animal, especially one that's going to be high maintenance.
If you travel frequently, it's pretty obvious that now's not the time for a needy pet. Other lifestyle issues may not be so clear cut. First, think about whether you have the time and energy to devote to a demanding pet. Social animals in particular require a lot of attention. If you need quiet or rest time when you get home from work, and you can’t imagine exercising energetic animals in the snow or blazing heat, a high-maintenance pet is not for you.
Living space is important, so evaluate whether you have enough room for a pet. If your potential pet is going to be outside, do you have proper fencing and adequate exercise space? Is your landscaping safe and secure? Inside the home, consider similar issues. You may be able to drag that old aquarium out of storage for your young chameleon, for example, but you'll probably need space for a larger enclosure down the road. Are furnishings, plants, and kitchen areas safe for animals?
Between food, vet visits, bedding, and training, you can expect to spend $700 to $1,800 during the first year. High-maintenance animals also may cause unexpected costs in the form of unusual wear and tear on your home. From puppy accidents on precious rugs to rabbit nibbles on important electrical cords, find out what costs to expect by chatting online with current pet owners. If potential costs would strain your wallet, wait until you can better afford the pet.
High-maintenance pets can be a welcome addition to your family, teaching kids important lessons about responsibility and unconditional love. An honest assessment of your lifestyle, space, and financial resources is the key to finding the right time to take on a new pet.