What To Know About Owning A Pet If You Work Full-Time
As it turns out, your parents were right: owning a pet is indeed a big responsibility. Animals require constant love, care, and attention, and having one in your home requires a schedule adjustment and a lot of your time. Of course, many feel that it's worth it in the end, but still, if you're thinking of getting a pet, you need to know what you're getting yourself into. This is especially true if you have a full-time job that keeps you out of the house for long hours on a regular basis. It's absolutely still possible to own a pet (or pets) even with a busy job, but it can also make things a bit tough. There are some things no one ever tells you about having a pet while working full-time that you should be aware of before you get into the situation.
For one thing, it is definitely easier to own pets when you're not working 40 hours a week — I say this as someone who has three cats and recently went from working full-time in an office to working from home all the time. Being away from your pets for the majority of the day is upsetting for everyone involved: you miss them, they really miss you, and it makes your schedule outside of your job a little bit more hectic.
Luckily, most people can make it work for their lifestyle, it just requires a little bit of extra effort, which (I would say) is worth it in the end. Here are a few things you should know about having a pet while working full-time:
1. You Should Choose A Pet and Breed Based On Your Working Hours
If you don't already a pet and you're thinking of getting one, you might want to choose one based on your hours. If you work a lot, like more than 40 hours a week, with an unpredictable schedule, you might not be able to get a dog at this point in time. Dogs are a lot of maintenance - they need exercise and they need to be taken outside to go to the bathroom. If you're set on getting a dog, pick a breed that is more low-maintenance, like a Maltese or Boston Terrier. Do some research before getting one.
If you're open to something other than a dog, cats are much easier to care for even when you're not home all the time. They don't require a ton of attention, and thanks to their litter box, don't need to be taken out to go to the bathroom. Reptiles and fish, as well as other kinds of animals, also might work better for you.
2. You Need To Build Your Schedule Around Them
Everyone acts like having a pet is all fun and games, but that's not true. If you're working full-time, you need to plans all of your non-working hours around your pets. For example: if you want to grab dinner or drinks with friends after work, you will probably need to stop home first to feed or let your animals outside. If you live alone, with no one else to care for the pet, impromptu sleepovers aren't going to work.
3. You'll Probably End Up Spending Extra Money
If you choose to get a more high-maintenance pet and you work a lot, you might have to pay someone to take care of them throughout the day. Dogs shouldn't really be kept inside for more than eight hours a day, and some can't be in alone for that long. This is especially true if they are puppies who aren't totally trained yet. You might need to hire a dog walker or someone who can come by and let them out and feed them. That's not exactly cheap!
4. You Need A Pet Emergency Contact Number
No matter what kind of pet you have, you should have someone you know you can call if you need something at the last minute. For example: if you have to stay super late at work, and you need someone to feed your cats, is there anyone who can drop by your house and do that? If you know you're not going to make it home in time to take your dog out, can someone do it for you? Have at least one person in mind and talk to them about it beforehand. This can give you more peace of mind.
5. It's Harder To Notice If They Aren't Feeling Well
The downside to working full-time while having a pet is that you don't get to spend as much time with them. Because of this, it's easy to ignore signs that they aren't feeling well, or to not notice that they're doing something out of the ordinary. You might miss signs that they are sick or that's something wrong, which definitely isn't ideal. Make sure to keep a close eye on them when you're around.
6. They Are Going To Feel A Bit Lonely
Most pets generally like to be around people, especially their owners! If your pet is home alone all day long, they might start to feel a bit lonely or depressed (this is another reason why you'll want to be careful with certain breeds of dogs and cats). Even if your pet doesn't need to be taken out during the day, you might want to hire someone to do it anyway just so they don't get too depressed.
7. You Might Want To Consider Getting Them A Friend
Because your pets could start to feel bummed out about being alone, you might want to consider getting another pet to keep them company. Yes, that's taking on a lot, but it's something people do quite often. I have three cats, and they have each other to hang out with while my fiance and I aren't around. My parents have a dog, and she's the only pet there — she's pretty lonely without anyone all day, and gets so excited when they come home that it's a little sad.
8. You'll Feel Guilty
Millions of people leave their pets at home while they work all day long. It happens every single day. As long as you're around the rest of the time and taking care of them the right way, you have nothing to feel bad about. You're not doing anything wrong! That said, you still might feel guilty every morning as you leave for the day and they stare at you with sad eyes. It's hard to avoid!
9. You're Better Off With A Set Routine
A strict routine is better for your pet and for you. It keeps everything organized and it can help give both of you peace of mind. Make sure you're feeding them at the same time every morning and night, and set up little rituals that you do every day with them. Routines can be comforting!
10. You're Going To Miss Them A Lot
Honestly, it stinks to leave your pets alone all day! While your life probably won't revolve around them completely, you will find yourself missing them while you're sitting at work.