Skip to main content

10 Questions You Need to Answer Before Getting a Pet

I have been an avid pet person since childhood. I know how to keep them happy and healthy.

Looking to adopt a new pet? Here are questions you should answer before you decide.

Looking to adopt a new pet? Here are questions you should answer before you decide.

Ten Questions You Should Answer First

  1. Can you handle a long-term commitment?
  2. Do you have room?
  3. What do you live in?
  4. Are you home most of the day?
  5. What can you afford?
  6. What do you like?
  7. Are you an outdoor fanatic?
  8. Are you a clean fanatic?
  9. Have you ever had a pet before?
  10. Are you allergic to anything?

The following information will help you choose the right pet and know what to expect when you bring your new pet home.


1. Can You Handle a Long-Term Commitment?

Pets not only require a lot of care, but they can live for many years. Cats and dogs have been known to live for twenty plus years. You need to consider the fact that no matter where you are or what you like; if you cannot keep the animal for the rest of their lives, you shouldn’t take them in at that time.

Separation, after you adopt, can be hard on the kids, you, and the animal. Try to consider this before you take on a pet or allow your child to get one. Fostering a pet can be easier if a short term commitment is something you prefer.

2. Do You Have Room?

In order to have a pet, you must have the room in your home for the pet:

  • Fish will need an aquarium.
  • A dog will need room for sleeping and eating, as will a cat.
  • A large dog will need a much larger area in which to live.
  • A cat requires a litter box and furniture for climbing and scratching.
  • Guinea pigs, reptiles, hamsters, birds, and all other similar species will require a cage that is large enough to give them room to move around easily.
  • Animals are generally energetic and need lots of room to run and play.

Keeping animals in small surroundings where they can’t move or play would be like you living in a tiny box all your life with nothing to do. This can get awkward, tiring, and cause many mental issues for you. Can you imagine what it would be like for a pet? Even large homes can be a problem if you have a great deal of furniture or a large family and nothing for the pet.


3. What Do You Live in?

Living areas must be considered when you are thinking of pet adoption. For instance, if you live in a tiny apartment, you wouldn’t want to adopt an English Mastiff. These animals can grow up to two hundred and forty pounds. Also, they will need to have an area to ‘do their business’ and apartments don’t have yards. A small living area means a smaller pet with smaller needs. The larger your living area, the better it would be for your pet.

In small living areas consider getting:

  • a cat
  • a Guinea Pig or Hamster
  • a bird
  • a very small dog
  • a small fish aquarium

Larger living areas can mean larger animals or, of course, the smaller ones as well, consider:

  • Large breed animals such as Collies and German Shepherds
  • St Bernard’s, though you may want a larger yard for them
  • Dobermans
  • Greyhounds: They need to run a lot so a much larger yard would be acquired.
  • Caged animals can have larger cages.

4. Are You Home Most of the Day?

With only a few exceptions, such as aquariums, animals need lots of love and attention. Putting them into a home all day long while you work can be hard on them. This is especially true if you come home too tired to attend to them.

The things that would be preferable, if you are gone most of the day, would be pet sitters or insulated and heated outside housing with plenty of overhead coverage that is fenced for safety. This would be better for larger dogs and would allow them to be outside while you are gone.

However extreme cold or hot temperatures can be deadly for animals that are usually in the house. Check the weather before you leave your pet outside. Also, make sure they have plenty of water to drink throughout the day. Other pets should have plenty of window viewing and toys to occupy them while you are gone. Also, be prepared, some animals can get very loud if they get lonely while you are gone.

Of course, if you work at home, you may want to consider a quiet animal so you can have silence while working. Just remember that your pet needs your time as much, if not more than, your work. Take a break and spend some time with them throughout the day. You will be more refreshed and be able to concentrate better.

5. What Can You Afford?

I suggest that you get your pet from a shelter. They are generally better pets because they appreciate the home. The plus to this is the cost will be much less, or even zero depending on where you go. Having said that, pets aren’t like a dining room set or a chair. You can’t just buy it and forget it. Pets are a constant like having children. They will all need food daily, treats, and toys. They may also need, things like:

  • Leashes
  • Dishes
  • Furniture
  • Scratchpads
  • Tie outs
  • Cages
  • Vet visits for shots and emergencies

Looking into what you might need for the pet can help you to decide if you can afford to get it, and better prepare you for their arrival.

6. What Kind of Pets Do You Like?

Some people just don’t like certain pets. You need to take a moment with each animal to see if they are the right temperament, activity level, and/or size. But also look ahead to know if your new pet choice would be a good fit once you know what changes you will need to make for them. For example:

  • Fish require water, pumps, heaters, and filters, but they can't generally be handled.
  • Dogs need to go out often and will need plenty of activities to keep them healthy.
  • Cats can be very independent, but they also need plenty of exercise and window watching.
  • Allergies to animals are generally caused by their shedding, however, there may be other factors involved.
  • Birds need cages that can be rather large and bulky, and they can make quite a mess.
  • Most animals carry parasites that can affect you, especially if they are outside a great deal.
  • Cuddles are nice but can get in the way if you don’t like to cuddle and your pet does, or vice-versa.
  • Pets, no matter what type, take a lot of work and commitment.

7. Are You an Outdoor Fanatic?

Your outdoor life can be affected in several ways if you get a pet. You might need to stay home more because the animal will need to be fed and cared for daily. If the animal can go outside with you, you will have to bring items for the animal along with things you will need. You might have to seek an ‘animal sitter’ to be with your animal while you are gone.

Animals left home alone can wreck your home and/or bother the neighbors with their barking or meowing. If you are gone for a long time and have multiple animals, you might come home to a disaster because you were not there to stop it. Most animals cannot participate in outdoor activities during extreme conditions unless they were bred for it.


8. Are You a Clean Fanatic?

Let’s face it, animals can be quite dirty even when you clean them. Litter boxes, muddy paws, shedding, rainy days, things knocked down, and accidents are all things that can affect the clean level of your home.

No, I am not suggesting that you don’t get a pet because they might be dirty, I am suggesting you look at the pet requirements and decide if you want the pet more than the effort to care for them in your home.

If you can’t make up your mind, I think you should know this fact: Most people with pets have direct health benefits such as lower blood pressure and a reduction in stress.

9. Have You Ever Had a Pet Before?

Your experiences can help you to make good choices when seeking a new pet. You already know what will happen if you get another of the same type (canine, feline, reptile, etc.). It can help you to know if that pet was good for you and your family, or not so good. You'll also know what will be required for the pet because of the previous experience. It can help you be comfortable with the pet which is very important for you and the pet. But don't be afraid to look into other types of pets, they can be a great experience for you and your family. And it can be fun to learn about new pets.


10. Are You Allergic to Anything?

It is possible to be allergic to certain pets; but, before you give the pet away, be sure to ask what the pet has been bathed in because that might be what is causing the reaction. Pet dander and shedding can be hard on people with breathing issues and can be the cause of allergic reactions. There are species that can be acquired that are less likely to affect your allergies.

Dog Breeds

  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Maltese Terrier
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Brussels Griffin

Cat Breeds

  • Sphinx
  • Siamese
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Devon Rex

Keep in mind that all mammals, including ourselves, will shed; but the less shedding they do, the better it will be for someone who has breathing issues. This list is by no means complete, so be sure to research before you get your pet.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Cheryl Simonds

Please feel free to contact me.

Cheryl Simonds (author) from Connecticut on August 23, 2020:

Thank you, I was hoping to help people think about getting a pet before they actually get one. Cheryl

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 14, 2020:

Your points are well-taken, and should be considered before taking on the responsibility of getting a pet.

Cheryl Simonds (author) from Connecticut on April 10, 2020:

Thank you Pamela, I know how hard it can be when you realize the expense. You suffer, the kids suffer, and the pet suffers as well.

Cheryl Simonds (author) from Connecticut on April 10, 2020:

Thank you, Tori,I was hoping people might read this before they get a pet. A family we knew once had a dog. They found out it was too expensive for them to feed him because he had to have a special diet. Very Sad.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 08, 2020:

I think you have covered the many concerns one should have before getting a new pet. This is a very good article, and it is important to consider all the points you listed before purchasing a pet.

Tori Leumas on April 07, 2020:

These are great points. I’d love to have my own dog at some point, but at the moment, I can’t afford it.