Have you decided to add onto your family? We aren’t talking about having children; we are talking about pets! According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2015 and 2016, 54.4 million households owned a dog and 42.9 million owned a cat. Adding a pet to your family can be a new, fun and exciting adventure. Read on as we take a look at how adding a furry family member may change not only your day-to-day routine but also your insurance coverage.

Things to Think About When Buying a Pet

The idea of getting a pet is very exciting, but it’s important to take a step back and look at the whole picture. Have you thought about if you or other members of your family have time to care for a pet? Have you considered the cost? Take a look at some of the things to consider before adding a four-legged friend to the family.

Research Different Breeds

First and foremost, research the breed of pet you are thinking about getting. It’s possible that you’ve dreamed of owning an Olde English Bulldog your whole life, but you may find that when you research this breed, their behavior doesn’t match your lifestyle. It’s easy to fall in love with a type of dog, cat or even bird, but their temperament may not be what you thought it was.

Do You Have Time for a Pet?

This is one of the most important things to consider. At first thought, you may think that you have plenty of time to own a pet, but you may be surprised. It’s hard to resist the cuteness of puppies and kittens, but there are many responsibilities when it comes to their care. To be specific, if you’re getting a puppy, you must account for house-training, obedience training, walking, feeding and giving the puppy attention. That can take up a lot more time than originally thought. If you’re adopting a pet, while they may be house-trained, it can take quite some time for the new pet to acclimate to your home and family.

If you want to get a pet that requires more time, like cats or dogs, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your schedule. If you don’t have time to devote to a pet, a cat or a dog may not be the pet for you. However, you don’t have to give up on getting a pet. Overall, it’s important to be honest with yourself about the time you have to devote.

Do You Have Space for a Pet?

Depending on the pet you would like to get, you need to consider where you live. While small pets like cats, fish or a guinea pig can be happy in any type of dwelling, certain dog breeds do better in certain home types. Bigger, higher energy dogs may do better in an environment with a yard while low energy dogs (like a Great Dane) may love an apartment. If you do live in a condo, high rise or apartment, finding nearby dog parks or trails where you can walk your pet will be beneficial, so you know where you can take them to run around.

If you live in a rental property, make sure that your landlord allows pets and that there aren’t breed restrictions. Some rental properties have limitations on pet weight and the number of pets allowed in a unit.

Pets Aren’t Cheap

Simply put, pets aren’t cheap, and the costs don’t stop after the adoption or purchasing fee. There’s pet food, shots at the veterinarian, flea and tick prevention, heart worm medication, spaying and neutering and any additional procedures that a pet may require. Pets, like people, can have medical conditions like diabetes or arthritis that require extensive veterinary care, so make sure that if some of these unexpected health conditions arise, you’re in a position where you can get them the care they need.

Schedule a Home Visit

When visiting a breeder or an adoption center, ask if you’re able to schedule a home visit with the pet. This can be beneficial for not only the potential pet owner but for the pet, as well. Home visits can be especially beneficial if there are children in the home.

 Many animal rescues offer “pet for a day” programs where potential homeowners can spend a day with a pet. This is a great way to see if a potential pet will easily blend in with your family, or if that pet is better suited for a different family.

Dog Breed Can Play a Role in Insurance

Whether you’re looking at buying a pet from a breeder or are looking in your area animal rescue shelter, different breeds of dogs may or may not affect your homeowner’s insurance. Certain breeds like Akitas, Chow Chows, Siberian Huskies or Dobermans can often require the pet owner to purchase extra coverage.

If you’ve got one of the above-listed breeds of dog or believe that you may have a dog that could affect your homeowner’s insurance coverage, contact your local Farm Bureau insurance agent to learn more about how having a pet could affect your homeowner’s insurance.

Protect All Members of Your Family With Farm Bureau

No matter if it’s the two or four-legged members of your family, make sure they’re protected. Get in touch with your local Farm Bureau agent to find out if your pet is covered under your homeowner’s insurance and see how we are protecting livelihoods and building futures.