6 Signs You're Ready to Bring a Pet into Your Relationship

by Melissa Melms, Galmour

So you're dating Hottie McHotterson and things are going pretty swell. You're probably living together and ready for something more. How do you know when you're both ready to introduce a pet into that lovey dovey relationship you've got going on now? There are six important things to consider before you guys take the next step together.

Of course I'm bringing this up for my own selfish reasons: J and I are talking about getting a dog. We've been cohabiting for almost a year (come October) and starting to talk about getting engaged, moving into a bigger place, and bringing a pet into the family we're starting (no, not all at once). There's just one problem. I'm super spontaneous and would get the dog NOW but he's weighing every single option and being responsible (whatever), making us wait another year or two. Plus we're fighting about what kind of dog to get (me: French bulldog, him: cocker spaniel). So I thought it was best to go through a little pet checklist and see where we stand.

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1. You have a stable routine. Your pet will need to be on a schedule, especially in the beginning. Alright, so J and I still work crazy hours. Sometimes it's 10AM-6PM and sometimes it's 10AM-11PM. Oof.

2. You won't be breaking the bank. Getting the pet or paying for its food, care, kennel, etc. should definitely not be a huge financial burden. Yes, it's pricey, but you should have enough to cover the costs. Well, we have enough… if we skip that trip to London we're saving for.

3. You have a plan of attack once the pet comes. You know, splitting responsibilities: someone is in charge of feeding, someone in charge of cleaning, and someone in charge of taking him/her to do his/her business. OK, we can definitely do this one. As long as I can make a cool chore calendar or something and check off my tasks as I complete them. I love that stuff.

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4. Your lifestyle is pet-friendly. You're not always going to work events or to the bar with friends. When the puppy needs to go out, you'll have to go home to make sure he goes out. Or if you're constantly planning weekend trips, you'll have to see if the pet can come alone or plan for a babysitter. It can interfere with an especially social lifestyle. Umm. See "stable routine." Dang.

5. You have physical space for the pet to live in. And play, eat, and sleep in. Maybe even a backyard for the pet to be able to run around. Well, don't be jealous or anything but we have a 1-bedroom apartment. Oh, you're not jealous? That's what I figured.

6. You have a solid relationship. As in, not breaking up next week. A pet is a long-term commitment. Phew, we have at least one thing going for us.

OK, fine, J is totally right (shh, don't tell him that). We're not ready for a dog yet. How did you fare? Are you ready to bring a pet into your relationship? Or, if you already have, did it change the dynamic at all? What can I expect? Did I miss any other big things to consider before getting one? Can you guys at least agree with me that we should get the French bulldog over a cocker spaniel?

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