There are many things in life that are much simpler in your head than they are in real life. Getting a pet is one of those scenarios, especially in a place like NYC. I, myself, have been contemplating adopting a puppy recently. However, having a really small apartment and basically, an around-the-clock career in journalism, is making the possibility really slim. But, if you have the time and space to be a pet owner, don’t let me stop you! Go get a pet, and I’ll live vicariously through you.
However, before you run to the pet store or shelter, there are a list of things to consider. Getting a pet is a huge deal and cost to anyone, but the magnitude is blown larger for those living in a city.
Here are some of the things you should consider before deciding whether or not you’re ready to have a pet in the city:
What will you living arrangements be in the next couple of years?
First, if you have roommates, you should make sure that they’d be okay with having a pet living in the space. This is a no-brainer, but make sure nobody is allergic to pets. As adorable as your future pet might be, you don’t want their furs to be a health hazard to your roommates. Also, getting a pet is essentially like getting another roommate in the apartment, so you should make sure everyone is okay with it.
Next, think and plan ahead. How is your living situation going to change over the next few years? In some cases, pets have a harder time adapting to new environments than humans do. Whenever you move to, you’re going to need it to be pet-friendly, both in terms of the building’s policies and the surrounding neighborhood. Especially with dogs, you’d want a nearby park or any open outdoor space where they can run around. These kinds of places might cost more than places that aren’t pet-friendly.
The worst thing would be having to give your pet away just because you won’t be able to bring her/him with you on your next move.
Should you get a cat or a dog? Which breed?
Even if you’re a dog person, your schedule and lifestyle might align more closely with a cat. Or vice versa. Cats are pretty independent and laid back. They mostly sit still and nap in the sunlight all day. They just go in the litterbox and have a pretty good self-control of how much they eat. You could leave cats alone for a few days, and they’ll be fine.
However, dogs are a different story. They like to go outside to run and play around, as well as to relieve themselves. They usually want more affection and attention than cats do. You wouldn’t want to leave dogs alone in an apartment for nine hours a day. It might be better if you have a significant other or roommate who is in and out of the apartment throughout the day, if you work all day.
Even if you’ve made up your mind on which animal to get, there are dozens of breeds and sizes to choose from. Each breed of a pet is very different from one another, and you’d want it to be the perfect match for both you and the pet you choose.
Also, having a pet that needs a lot of attention means that whatever personal alone time will be thrown out the window. If you’d much rather spend time outside of work playing with your pet and making sure they get enough outdoor time and exercise, then absolutely go for it. But, if you really like to have absolute alone time, then you might want to rethink getting a pet.
Can you afford all the costs that come with a pet?
Many NYC apartments require tenants to pay additional fees to have pets. Condos and co-ops usually have annual fees ranging from $100 to $500, or monthly fees as high as $80. In rentals, you usually pay an annual fee of $250 to $500, depending on the term of your least.
Getting the actual pet itself can be costly, in additional to the fees leveled by your building. Even if you adopt or rescue and only pay a few fees upfront, there are a running list of costs to consider. Just like human beings, pets need vaccines and checkups—including medicine for fleas and ticks and microchipping to keep tabs on your little furry child. If you want to get your pup neutered, that can cost $400 alone. Don’t forget about the daily essentials your pet will need—like food, potty pads, carrier, bed, and toys.
If you need to hire a dog-walker, the service is around $20 a day, so $100 a week, which translates to $400 a month. Typically, a dog should be walked four times a day. Even if you can cover the mornings and nights, you might need to hire someone to walk your dog during mid-day.
Besides paying for a dog-walker, grooming can become the next biggest cost. If you have a dog, you’d probably have to get her/him groomed every two or three month. It costs as much as, if not more than, getting your own hair cut and styled.
At the end of the day, can you offer your pet the best living situation it deserves?
This seems like a silly question, but it’s probably the most important one. Even if you REALLY want a pet, is it within your means to provide him or her with the best life possible? This is probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life, so be brutally honest with yourself. Take your time weighing out the pros and cons of getting a pet at your current stage of life. But, if you really think you can make a pet happy, you probably can, and she or he would return the favor, continuously.