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Choosing Your First Pet

By Cassidy Ashton

What Should be on Your Mind when Choosing Your First Pet?

Mississippi is one of the top 10 dog owning states, with around 45.2% of all homes taking care of a furry friend at home. Dogs are an obvious first choice when it comes to choosing a pet for the first time, though other popular choices across the U.S. include cats, freshwater fish, horse, and reptiles. When making your selection, it is important to do the required research on two main aspects of pet ownership: cost, and time. A dog, for instance, will require a couple of long walks a day and unstructured free play every day. Cats, meanwhile, can handle longer hours without their owner but they will definitely be quite affectionate when you get home!

How Much do Pets Cost to Keep in a Healthy State?

According to the ASPCA, the first year of having a new pet can set you back around $1,000, with some of the biggest costs including neutering, health insurance, and the medical inspections. Food will set you back anywhere from $212 for a small dog to $400 for a large dog. A cat will cost around $224 to feed for a year, a rabbit just $144.8, a guinea pig $45, a ferret $323-80, a small bird $192, and a fish $12. It is important to add up total costs, including toys and treats, including chewy toys for dogs, a catnip box for kitties, blankets and beds, grooming products, etc. You will also need to apply a flea and tick treatment approximately once a month, and give your pet a de-worming tablet every few months. Once you have your total, add around 20% more, for unexpected costs.

Pet Coverage can Reduce Annual Expenses

Insurance can set you back over $200 for dogs and cats, but this fee is definitely worth it. Unexpected injuries like corneal ulcers, for instance, can cost between $200 to $2,000 to heal. Sometimes, surgery is needed, so it is best to be insured against this and other problems your dog or cat can easily develop simply by playing outside in a area with twigs or thorny plants.

How Much Free Time do You Have?

Cats and dogs are the two most popular choices when it comes to choosing a pet for many reasons. For one, they have developed a powerful bond with human beings that cannot be denied. Secondly, some people worry about keeping pets in tiny bowls or cages, preferring to have larger animals that can freely move throughout their home. If you choose a dog for this reason, ask yourself if you have around an hour a day (minimum) to dedicate to exercise. Studies have shown that dogs have a positive effect on human health, largely because they ‘force’ us to head into the Great Outdoors and stay active. However, if you barely have the time to exercise yourself or prepare a home-cooked meal, a pet that is less time-consuming might be a good choice.

Choosing a pet you can raise healthily should be a primary consideration if you are thinking of becoming a ‘human parent’ to a dog, cat, or smaller animal. Drafting a budget is key so you can make sure you are economically capable of providing your pet with all its needs. Finally, some pets need more time and company than others. Dogs, for instance, often find it difficult to be separated from their owners for long hours, while cats are much more independent and will need less of your time in terms of daily exercise needs.

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