Are you ready to introduce a pet to your small space?

So you're looking for a new roommate to share your small space. You want companionship, a welcoming spirit. The kind of roomie you will consider a best friends for the next 20 years. You know, the kind with four legs.

Choosing a pet

Adding a pet to your home is no easy decision. "You are committing to the care of that pet for (its) entire life," said Rebecca Smith, adoption supervisor with the San Diego Humane Society. "It's important to take your time to ensure you're ready and that you find a pet that will be a good fit."

Many assume smaller dogs are better for smaller spaces, but this isn't necessarily the case. "Some large-breed dogs are giant couch potatoes ... and some small-breed dogs can be quite active," said Shauna Romero, the Humane Society's community training coordinator. She added, when choosing a dog, people should observe a dog's energy levels and choose accordingly.

No pets allowed

Most apartments have restrictions when it comes to dogs and cats - some even add an extra deposit or additional rent. Limitations on breed and size also are common. Rental management companies are often the most strict with these rules, with individually-owned condos and homes being more lenient. Either way, make sure pets are allowed before bringing one home - or you too may soon be looking for a new place to stay.

Active lifestyle

While away, dogs can bore quickly. Make sure to provide your new best friend with plenty of toys and hidden treats. Said Romero, "All dogs do need some mental or physical stimulation." Bored dogs also tend to bark. If your dog is a barker, expect a few (friendly) visits from neighbors. Keeping dogs active and busy will go a long way in alleviating such concerns. And if possible, come home on your lunch break so the dog can do its "business."

Work and weekends

Leaving your pup at home while you're at work is totally different than going away for a weekend in Palm Springs, the latter of which is when you nee to consider boarding. Pet hotels and doggie daycares are popping up throughout the county, with some veterinarians also providing those services. Expect to pay $50 (per day) and more for overnight stays and around $25 daycare. Better yet, get a friend to house/pet-sit.

Other costs

Like people pets need medical care. Vaccinations, medications, food, toys and grooming can all take a toll on your pocketbook. "On average, households in the U.S. spend more than $500 a year on their pets," said Smith. Other things to consider are spaying/neutering costs, microchips, licenses (depending on where you live), beds, crates and insurance. It can add up quick.

Man's best friend

While sometimes costly, adding your new roommate may just be one of the best decision you will ever make. Unlike the human kind, these furry roommates don't come with  loud music, dirty dishes, or dirty clothes strewn throughout the house. Only a new best friend for life.

The San Diego Humane Society is located at 5500 Gaines St. in San Diego. For more information, call (619) 299-7012 or go online to sdhumane.org.

Source: Discover SD

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