6 Questions Couples Should Consider Before Getting A Pet

Picture it: You’ve found that special someone, and your relationship is fantastic. But what do you do when your significant other suggests taking the leap and making a commitment to each other…by getting a pet? Before you add that new dog or cat to your lives, consider keeping the following questions in mind.

“Do we both want a pet?”

Having an animal in your life can be a rewarding and life-affirming experience. It can also be expensive and time-consuming, with the  ASPCA estimating a medium-sized dog can cost an average of $1,580 per year for food, veterinarian expenses, and other care, while a cat can cost an average of $1,035 per year. The decision to get a pet should be mutual, and should be made long before you actually add a dog, cat, or other animal to your life. Keep in mind your significant other may be reluctant to have a pet; if that is the case, then respect their opinion and consider holding off on bringing home a new animal. If either of you already has a pet, then you should consider your animal’s needs when making a decision.

“What type of pet is right for us?”

If you are picturing Saturday morning jogs in the park with a Labrador, but your significant other is thinking of stocking a massive tank with fish, then you need to talk about what type of animal you both want. Take into account any allergies you or your significant other have, the size of your current living space, your work schedules, and finances when deciding on a pet. Use this opportunity to discuss the size of the pet you want, too. A larger dog may present more challenges and expenses than a small lap dog.

“How many pets do we want, anyway?”

While you and your significant other may have agreed on the type of animal you want, you also need to agree on how many pets you want. With each additional pet, your responsibility and costs associated with caring for the animal will also increase. Keep in mind any rules and regulations that may apply in terms of how many animals you can have, especially if you are in a rental.

“Where will the pet live?”

For some couples, living together is not an option for many reasons. If you and your significant other aren’t living together, then you need to decide where Fido or Fluffy will live. For example, will you decide to keep your pet in your partner’s home during the week, while you have the pet on the weekend? When deciding on an arrangement, factor in your work schedules and current house or apartment.

“Who is responsible for pet care?”

If you and your significant other routinely split expenses, then deciding who is responsible for pet care may be moot. However, if you don’t always evenly split expenses, or if one of you makes significantly more than the other, deciding who should pay for veterinary bills and pet food is a discussion you should have with your significant other before you bring home a new cat or dog.

“Where will we find a pet?”

You and your partner may have agreed on getting one particular type of pet. But where will you find your new dog, cat, or hamster? Perhaps one of you has strong feelings regarding pets bought from a store or breeder. If that is the case, you both need to be on board and agree regarding where you can find an animal.
Having an open discussion with your significant other regarding the type and how many animals is an important step in your relationship. Remember to be honest and to value each other’s opinions.

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