Thinking About a New Pet? 5 Things To Consider First

Pets For Baby Boomers
Pets For Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers love their pets!!! The unconditional love you get from a pet is a wonderful experience. 

Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, goldfish, beta fish, we have had them all at our house and each one has taught us something and brought joy into our lives just by living with them.  Our pets have left such an impact on us that we talk about them long after they have stepped over into pet heaven. 

After our last pup passed on to good doggy heaven – we were surprised at the depth of the loss we felt. On one hand, we were happy she was running free, on the other, we missed her terribly. For us, she was the ultimate entertainment and expression of unconditional love.  She gave as much to us as we gave to her – probably more. 

Pets are wonderful additions to our families. If you are an experienced pet owner you might think you already know what things to consider before getting another pet but Boomers, in particular, can benefit from seriously considering the following five things.

What Are Your Goals?

What are your goals in your retirement years? Are you planning on traveling? Will your trips be well planned out or do you want the freedom for spontaneous travel? Are you working away from home? How many hours can your pet be alone?

A pet has certain needs that don’t change just because it’s owner wants to take a long weekend away!  Certain animals like cats and guinea pigs can be okay for a few days alone provided plenty of food and water and clean litter is left for them. But dogs – well, in general, dogs require daily human contact. 

Do you have family, friends, or neighbors who would be willing to take care of your fur-baby at a moment’s notice? Or will you need to take your pet to a local kennel? Or arrange a caretaker to come to your house while you are gone?  Does your trip budget allow for paying for your fur baby’s care?

Who Will Be Taking Care Of Your Pet?

Who is going to be responsible for the training and daily care of the pet? If you are part of a couple – have you talked about who is going to walk, feed, pick up poop, clean up accidents, take the animal to the vet?   

Many couples disagreed about how to raise their human children. If you were a couple who experienced a lot of conflict over child raising can you be on the same page about raising and caring for your fur-baby? At this point in your life, it is wonderful to minimize conflicts where ever possible. So, talk to your partner about the division of pet chores and see if you can agree.

Where Will You Be Living?

Where are you living now? Where do you anticipate living 5-10 years from now? Unless your pet is a goldfish chances are that this pet could be with you for 10-20 years. Consider how having a pet will impact those years.

Where will the pet exercise? Where will the pet eat, sleep and go potty?  Is the weather something you need to consider? Are you up for walking a pet in the heat, cold, rain or snow?

Does your current place allow pets? Is there an added fee for pets?  Does your current homeowners/renters insurance cover the type of pet you want or are you considering a breed which requires additional insurance.

“According to, “Dog breeds that are typically associated with higher insurance premiums include Pit BullsRottweilersDoberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Akitas, and wolf-dog hybrids.” adds Chows, Great Danes, Presa Canarios, and Alaskan Malamutes to their list.”

What Are The Short And Long-Term Costs?

What are the upfront costs of getting a pet and what are the long term costs?  Adopting an animal from a shelter or a specific breed rescue often has lesser costs involved than purchasing a pet from a breeder. Some places include immunizations and spaying and neutering.

Long term costs include food and supplements, vet visits, medication, grooming, toys, litter, crates, replacing household items that your fur-baby could not resist.  

Choose a Pet That Will Fit Your Lifestyle

What size of pet would you like? What kind of lifestyle do you want for you and your pet?  Do you want a pet that can run, hike and swim with you? Do you want a small breed that can’t get up on the furniture without your help? 

What kinds of pets have you had before and what were the pros and cons of each?  Does anyone in your family have allergies that you need to consider?

Pets are a true blessing in life. They teach us that even when life is hard that a treat and a good nap or cuddle can refresh us and make life happy again.