Pets can be an important part of your family’s life and are a huge commitment. Knowing if it is the right time to bring a pet into the family is a difficult question. Before you make this life-changing decision, here are a few things you should consider, beyond just how much is that dog!

1. You’re Allowed To Keep Pets

One of the biggest advantages of owning a home is you can make your own rules, which includes whether or not you want a pet. Consider your backyard and see if your dog will be able to run around in it freely.

If you are renting, you might not be allowed to have dogs. Check your lease to see if there are any restrictions on the size or type of dog.

In some areas, certain breeds of dogs aren’t allowed. Do your research first to ensure you can get the type of dog you want.

2. Make Sure No One Has Pet Allergies

Unfortunately, over 30% of Americans experience some form of pet allergies, which can be extremely severe in some cases. Before you add a furry friend to your home, make sure no one has any allergies.

3. How Much Free Time Do You Have

Dogs require that their family devote a certain amount of time. Some breeds are more active than others, but all dogs will need to be walked, fed, washed, and socialized. Your family needs to share the responsibilities between them. If you spend long stretches of the day and evening away from the house, it might not be the right time to get a pet.

4. The Financial Aspects

Beagle Eating Dog Food

Depending on where you get the dog, it might be free from an animal shelter or cost hundreds of dollars from a breeder. And the costs don’t stop once you bring the dog home. You might have to pay for your new pet to be neutered or sprayed before you can adopt it. Additional costs include toys, cleaning supplies, trips to the vet, pet insurance and more. For example, an 18lb bag of Purina Puppy Chop from Walmart (NYSE: WMT) costs about $15. These costs can all add up quickly.

5. Everyone Wants The pet

Some people have intense phobias of dogs and cats that might have resulted in a traumatic event when they were younger. Make sure that no one in your family is scared of the pet before bringing it home. This must be a joint-decision with everyone involved, including children. Remember, all duties of taking care of the pet will be shared with every member of the family, so everyone should get a say in the decision-making process.

Choosing to add a pet to the family is a big decision but can be very fulfilling. Once you commit to getting a pet, it might be a challenge, but the love they bring will be worth it.