Pets are becoming increasingly popular, even in this part of the world. I mean, I’ve come across several Instagram pages for dogs and cats owned by Nigerians, and we seem to have successfully left behind the era of calling every dog “Bingo” or tagging every kitten a witch. Pets are amazing creatures to have, and as I’m told, unlike humans, they’re less likely to break your heart. So, if you’re considering getting one, I’d say, go for it!
But there are certain things that should be put in place before bringing a pet into your home, and into your life. Animal rights are nowhere near recognized in this country as they should be, but you still need to be a decent human and take care of your responsibilities.
Deciding to get a pet is no different from having a child. So, before you get that fluffy Samoyed or a cute Siamese, think on these.
- Commitment is essential: If you’ve never had to commit to anything, be assured that’s about to change. Owning a pet requires full commitment. The average life span of a cat or dog is 10 to 15 years. Are you ready to commit for that long? To devote a lot of your time to raising and caring for your pet(s)? Having to consider your pet before making life decisions or changing life patterns you’re used to? If the answer is No, you might want to hold off on getting a pet or getting one that doesn’t require as much time or attention, like a fish. Whatever you decide to do, always bear in mind that you have to be present for your pet. Your commitment to the pet is important.
- Can you afford pet healthcare? Like humans, animals fall sick too. Consider your financial status before making the life-changing decision to own a pet. Especially in a country like Nigeria where even humans struggle to get quality healthcare, you have to know that animal healthcare does not come cheap. Can you afford to retain a vet for your pet’s medical needs? What if they need surgery? Can you afford basic vitamins or healthy meals for your pet? Please answer these questions before getting one.
- Put the Pet’s space in order: If you were having a guest over, wouldn’t you do everything to ensure that they’re comfortable? The same goes for pets. Whatever pet you decide to get — dog, cats, rabbits, name it — it is essential that you put the space where the pet would live in order. One non-negotiable item is a pet bed; after all, your pet has to sleep too. Depending on your pet of choice, do your research and ensure you do all within your means to make sure your new buddy comes into a fantastic space.
- Stock up on Pet supplies: Anyone who has had a pet would tell you to get ready to stock up. No matter how little, you’re going to have to get basic pet supplies. These include, but are not limited to things like pet food, collars, grooming kits, soaps and shampoos, sponges, bowls, and a host of other pet stuff. You should also work on naming your pet as soon as it gets home and making an ID tag, just in case they go missing. To avoid your pet ending up in a shelter, ensure that your ID tag contains relevant information like the pet’s name, your house address, and a means of contacting you.
- Consider your lifestyle: What kind of job do you have? Do you run multiple jobs at the same time? Will your job allow you to create time for your pet? These and many more are necessary lifestyle questions to consider before deciding to bring a pet into your abode. As earlier stated, pets require lots of attention, hence, you must be working a job or business that affords you the luxury of spending time with and paying attention to your pet. If your lifestyle doesn’t leave you enough time to play and interact with your pet as you should, then, don’t get one. At least, not yet.