Another Pet In Your Family Home

You’re thinking of adding another pet to the family?  What an exciting time!  Whether this is your first pet or you are adding an addition to your family zoo, there are many things to consider! Don’t worry, The Decent Mom is here to help you figure it all out and make the best choice for your family’s situation.

Finances

another petYou don’t want to read yet another article about how you should manage your finances, I get it. Don’t worry, we are not here to lecture you!  What we do want to make sure you realize however, that even the simplest and cheapest pet will have recurring costs that have to be considered.
What about just getting my 4-year-old a Betta though?  Super cheap right?
After the initial investment of a tank (and even Betta fish deserve more than the teacup size bowls they are sold with…but that’s another article), tank accessories, food and the fish itself there ARE additional costs!  The fish food does last quite a while, but will need replacing, and if the fish develops a disease or doesn’t act right you may need to test the water’s chemical balance and purchase medication or balancing chemicals.
another pet
Of course a Betta fish is probably the cheapest pet a person can buy…horses, tropical fish and exotic birds can be some of the most expensive.  Consider food, collars, leashes, cages, kennels, bedding supplies, grooming supplies, training costs and the annual cost of veterinary visit.  The Simple Dollar has a calculator for dog and cat ownership that is worth taking a look at.  How much “fun” money do you have after you pay bills?  How much of that money are you willing to spend on a pet?
For additional budgeting ideas be sure to check out The Decent Mom’s pinterest board.

Responsibility

another pet“Wait a minute…that’s not fun either”…I hear you.  It’s not bad though and some of the responsibilities I’ll talk about are the same reasons you want a pet in the first place!  If not…ask for help from
Much like different types of pets require varying amounts of income, those same pets require different amounts of time and responsibility.  Interesting enough…the time, responsibility and money required all correlate.  If a pet is expensive (parrots and horses for example) they very likely require a lot of time and responsibility from you.
Even the easiest types of pets to care for (goldfish anyone?) require time and responsibility. Goldfish in particular produce high amounts of waste and their tanks need cleaning frequently.
Bird cages need to be cleaned, cats have litter boxes and dogs…well you get the point.
another petIn addition to the “icky” clean up…pets need discipline, love and attention.  This is where the real-time comes into play (get it?  Play?). Maybe you work long hours and come home to a destructive animal (hello cats and dogs) or a depressed animal (oh hi parrots).  Don’t worry, there are things that can help!  As always, you can contact a pet sitter or dog walker.  There are toys to occupy their time a bit but human interaction is the best solution.  Walks, play time or simple attention go a long way to ensuring your pets are healthy and happy.   And when our pets are healthy and happy…so are we!

Before you head to the shelter…

Remember that your existing pets have their routines and comfort levels as well.  An older dog might not appreciate a big puppy jumping on him.  Birds might freak out at first if you get another bird, dog, cat…well…anything really.  The Cattle Dog Publishing wrote a great article about transitioning pets: give it a look.
I’m not trying to discourage you from getting another pet.  As of right now I have 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, and a rat.  Be totally honest with yourself (and your family) about the obligations needed for another pet.

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