So You’re Thinking of Getting a Pet? Consider This First

living with petsLiving in an apartment can get lonely — no one is denying that. So it’s only natural to want to add a pet to the mix — a dog to take on a jog or a cat to greet you when you get home. But, having a pet is a big responsibility to take on, especially living in an apartment. So before you go and get that new furry friend, consider these things first.

What Does Your Lease Say?

Not all apartments allow pets, so you had better check your lease to see what is allowed. Even those that do allow pets may have weight or animal restrictions — such as no dogs over 25 pounds or no birds. Also, some pets might not be allowed by your city, such as ferrets. So you’ll need to look at the local codes as well as your lease before you pick out any pet.

Check with your property owner directly even if it isn’t in the lease. You’ll want to clear it and get a letter clearing it. Plus, you’ll want to see if having a pet will affect your security deposit or if you have to put down more — some places require an additional deposit just for the pet.

Can You Really Afford Man’s Best Friend?

Pets aren’t cheap. Even smaller pets have their expenses. From buying food to getting vaccinations and their accessories, it will add up over time. In fact, a medium-sized dog will cost you about $600 to $700 per year. So, sit down and look at your monthly expenses and see whether you can actually fit in a new pet. Also, can you have an emergency fund for your pet? When your pet is sick or injured, you’re likely to pay the bill in cash, so having an emergency fund is important— vet bills can be in the thousands.

Do You Have the Time?

People get pets, but then don’t realize how much time they need to spend with them. You need time to feed, train, groom and just bond with your pet. Also, if you are the type that works graveyards, will your pet have to be locked up in the apartment all night and all day while you sleep? If you travel a lot, who will take care of your pet while you’re away?

Also, if you don’t have a small backyard, you’re going to have to take your pet out for walks every day — will you have time for that?

Is There Enough Space?

Think of everything that comes along with that pet and see if you have the space to spare. You would be surprised how much space a pet needs — from a birdcage to a fish tank to a doggy bed. If your apartment is really small, youmight want to hold off until you have the extra space.

As long as you are financially prepared and ready for the responsibility, having a pet to come home to is highly rewarding.

May 2014