LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- If you're considering bringing a pet home, keep in mind that like children, they require a commitment of time, money, and love.
Here are 10 questions to ask before adopting a pet from Good Housekeeping.
1. What's the pet's average life span? Dogs and cats can live anywhere between 10 to 20 years, parrots can live 50 to 60 years, and hamsters only a few years. If you have young children, you'll want to consider your kid's age and maturity level before committing to a smaller, more delicate animal.
2. How much time do you have? Cats probably won't require as much time as dogs. And if you adopt an older, housebroken dog that knows basic commands, the time commitment won't be as overwhelming.
3. How much space do you have? Keep in mind, if you live in an apartment, you'll spend more time taking a dog outside to use the bathroom and exercise versus if you lived in a house with a yard where you could just let the dog out.
4. How much money can you spend? After you factor in all of the costs like food, bedding, and health care, pet care can be expensive. The ASPCA estimates the cost of owning a dog between $1,314 to $1,843 a year (depending on size), and $1,035 for a cat.
5. How often are you home? If you're rarely there, a puppy may not be a good choice because it requires frequent bathroom breaks and shouldn't be left alone for long periods. Canines, even older ones, warrant extra planning if you're gone for long stretches at a time.
6. How frequently do you travel? Your travel habits should influence the type of animal you choose. Cats, unless they have special needs, can be left alone for the most part for a night or two. But dogs need someone there to walk, feed, and let them out every few hours. But dogs are easier to travel with.
7. How active are you? Every animal needs exercise, but some require more than others. Puppies and young dogs need to be walked frequently, whereas older dogs don't. If you aren't that active, think of adopting a cat, hamster, or goldfish.
8. What type of vet care is available? Make sure you have a vet nearby you can use with your pet. If you are adopting a more exotic pet like a parrot or a horse, make sure you have a place to take them for medical care.
9. Does your residence restrict certain pets? Some states and cities ban certain types and even breeds of pets. There are several cities in Arkansas that ban pit bulls. Make sure to check ahead of time if you are allowed to own the pet you want.
10. Are you allergic? Before you adopt, spend time with that type of animal. And if possible, foster the animal to see if your allergy worsens or can be managed by keeping it out of your room or off your bed.