Approximately 60% of American households have pets. More specifically 37-47% of American households have a dog and 30-37% have a cat. Less than 10% of families have exotic pets or horses. Pets can be a great addition to a family. It has even been shown that pet ownership has many health benefits from lowering blood pressure to preventing allergies (See http://thepeteffect.org for more details and some cute videos!)
But owning a pet comes with responsibility. They are entirely dependent on us for all their needs and failure to provide for those needs can have dire consequences. Pet ownership requires commitment and should never be an impulse decision. How do you decide if owning a pet is right for you and if so, which pet? There are many factors that must be considered.
- Cost – Owning a pet can be expensive. Do your homework and make sure you know what you are getting and what you can afford. Some pets are more expensive to keep than others.
- Care and upkeep – It is critical that you understand what kind of care is needed for the animal you are considering. An animal such as a horse is going to require more work to than a cat.
- Time – Some pets require a lot of exercise and attention. Make sure that the pet you choose fits in with your lifestyle and your schedule. It isn’t fair to the animal if you don’t have the time to devote to its emotional and physical needs.
- Emotional needs – What are you looking for in a pet? What does your pet need from you? Failure to provide for the emotional needs of your pet can result in destructive behaviors, self mutilation, inappropriate elimination, and many other behavioral problems.
- Laws and ordinances – It is your responsibility to make sure you know and obey the rules, be it your landlord’s or any local ordinances. Failure to do so could result in fines, court costs, eviction, or you being forced to give up your pet.
- Family – Do you have kids? How old are they? Is someone in your house allergic to pets? Everyone needs to agree about what pet to get. Some pets will do better with small children than others. If a family member is allergic to cats then a cat will make them miserable.
There are many reasons that you might be considering a pet. Take the time and put some thought into which one might be the best choice. Also, make sure the time is right. It would be heartbreaking to have to give up your new friend because you made the wrong choice! For more information on choosing a pet go to https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Guidelines-for-Responsible-Pet-Ownership.aspx or give us a call! We would love to help you decide which pet is best for you and your family.