Moving in together is a significant step in your relationship; you’ve advanced your romance and are enjoying a whole new stage in both of your lives. Once you’ve successfully made such progress, it’s natural to think about the ways in which you can strengthen your bonds.

If you’re not yet ready for children but would like a shared responsibility and something to nurture together, a pet is a wonderful addition to any loving home and this could perhaps be an option for your relationship.

But before you head to the nearest pet shop, ask yourself these questions…

Is your relationship stable?

It sounds dramatic, but when considering getting a pet, it is important that you are first sure of your relationship. It is fundamental that your relationship with your partner is stable and committed, to ensure that your pet is entering a happy and healthy home for the long term. As the saying goes, ‘a pet is for life’ – dogs can live up to 15 years, while cats can live in to their early twenties.

Do you have the time?

With a pet comes enormous responsibility. If you or your partner lead hectic lives or you’re both often away from home, a pet probably isn’t for you.
Something as seemingly simple as a fish still needs to be fed regularly and as fun as a puppy may be, dogs require walks, exercise, grooming and constant attention. Purchase a puppy and those impromptu after work drinks will have to become a thing of the past.
However, if your spouse is often away, a pet can bring great comfort in their absence. An animal such as a dog brings with it an added sense of personal security, also.

Can you afford it?

Pets require food, training and suitable homes (i.e. bed, cage, kennel), as well as medical insurance and care which all adds up. We don’t mean to sound negative, but owning a domestic animal can be expensive and could place a strain on your finances, which could in turn cause tension within your relationship.
If you’re considering getting a pet, then speak to friends and family who already own animals to get an idea of cost, then consider first whether you can afford your furry friend.

Are you getting a pet on a whim?

The decision to introduce a new family member (human or otherwise) should never be made on a whim. Getting a pet is very exciting and it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill, but take a moment to step back and ask whether you have considered all factors. Even if you’re sure you have, it’s best to wait at least a couple of months before committing to owning a pet, as this will allow you down to cool down and better consider any potential problems in your plan.
The decision to get a pet with your other half is not one that should be taken lightly and if you or your partner has any doubts, then now might not be the time. Furthermore, if you have recently been experiencing trouble in paradise, it is best to concentrate on improving your relationship before committing to a pet; a pet will not resolve your relationship issues.