Many think of having a pet as a way to deepen their bond as a couple. Adopting a pet teaches invaluable skills. Through shared responsibilities, couples hone their communication, teamwork, and ability to compromise. The decision to adopt a pet is often seen as practice for marriage and, eventually, children. A study by the University at Buffalo found that pet-owning couples were closer and could handle stress better than their non-pet counterparts. But how do you know when you’re really ready to take that step?

It’s quite embarrassing, but I go crazy for every little stuffed animal I see on the street and spend my free time scouring the internet for cute animal videos. My cousin ( cat owner) got used to stopping me from blocking traffic every time a cute dog comes down the street.

There are so many positive reasons to have a pet, one can be blind to some of the challenges. Before contacting breeders or adoption agencies, it’s important to think about how this new addition might affect your relationship and change your life. Having a cat or a dog means extra responsibility and pressure on both of you, which can lead to growing pains. Sure, caring for a pet brings more love and joy to your life, but it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page before you dive in.

A few things to consider when deciding to get a pet:

1- Less free time

Remember all those glorious weekend mornings you’ve spent the last ten years sleeping and cuddling? You can say “bye-bye” to all of this if you decide to get a puppy. Dogs need to be walked every morning no matter what, so be prepared to wake up early every day. Like the postman, “neither the snow, nor the rain, nor the heat, nor the darkness of the night” will prevent you from walking your pup. Puppies and kittens require a lot of attention and supervision early on, so if you have a super active social life or a really hectic work schedule, sacrifices will have to be made. Be prepared to give up a few nights in exchange for some quality time with your partner and your new addition.

2- You become more active

Walking a dog can be tough, but this little activity can improve your health in spades! Studies show that new dog owners will significantly increase their recreational walking during the first ten-month period. We already know that exercise is good for reducing stress, heart health, and mood, but it can also help you bond. Going for a hike or jog with your pup and partner is active and fun. Doing healthy activities together helps the relationship and will improve your overall quality of life. Playing with your kitty or puppy is good for the heart and soul.

3- More responsibility

Still, arguing over whose turn it is to do the dishes? You and your partner are going to need excellent communication in order to negotiate the additional duties of owning pets. If a person slacks on duty or forgets to walk the dog, it can cause strain in the relationship. Caring for a pet as a team will show you exactly what responsibility your partner can handle. No one wants to feel resentful because they do all the heavy lifting in a relationship. A task board or calendar is a great way to stay organized. Just be sure to stick to it to navigate smoothly.

4- Less money

Having a pet can be expensive, so you and your spouse need to be sure you can afford the right care before bringing one home. The cost of a dog or cat goes far beyond their adoption or breeding costs. Your four-legged friend will need his injections or sterilization, in addition to all other expenses. There may also be hidden costs – emergency vet bills and or vitamin needs. Not to mention dog walker, grooming, or kennel fees if you want to travel. The best way to know if you’re ready for a pet is to sit down and write down some numbers. To break down costs.

5- You will have a healthier life

We know that pets provide support and companionship, and these factors can contribute to a longer lifespan. Many studies report that couples who own pets have lower baseline blood pressure and heart rate overall than couples without pets. In a study of 240 couples, pet owners showed “significantly smaller increases in heart rate and blood pressure in response to stress,” writes the American Heart Association. They also experienced faster recovery from stressors in general, but especially when their pet was around. Another study found that owning a dog helps reduce mortality in people with cardiovascular disease, “with a 4.05 times higher probability of mortality for those who do not own a dog.” Just make sure neither of you is allergic before committing to a fur-covered apartment!

6- You will face the little jealousies

An adorable pup is hard to compete with, but he can feel that way sometimes. Bringing a pet into the relationship can take a toll on your love life. To thwart any future problems, make sure your pet doesn’t get more attention than either of you.
It is important not to compete with your spouse for the animal’s attention. Your plushie will surely identify who is the soft touch in the relationship, and they may bond with or become protective of one partner over the other. You need to work power dynamics with the animal, so neither you nor your lover feels left out of love.

7- You will become a family

Adopting an animal will test your ability to work together and ultimately overcome challenges and share love, deepen your commitment to one another. You will learn together along the way and share many important experiences. The ups and downs of raising a living being will strengthen your bond and teach you to act as a unit.

8- You will cherish your alone time

Your adorable fluff ball may decide the perfect time to muzzle you is when things start to get frisky. Make sure you and your partner know when to lock the bedroom door and spend quality time just the two of you. Be sure to take the time to let your lover know that you love them (at least as much as the animal).