Having a pet that is well behaved and fits well with you and/or your family can be one of life’s greatest joys. Mounds of research and centuries of experience have shown us that pets teach us about unconditional love, improve our health and well-being, provide a wonderful source of entertainment, as well as increase the joy in our lives and the lives of others. On the other hand, having a pet that does not fit with you and/or your family’s life can be a terrible experience. The strain and stress on time, budget, and sanity can be overwhelming. In this portion of our series on Choosing the Right Pet, Dr. Kerri McMahon, veterinarian at CFVC, will offer you some tips and things to consider.
- Time – BEFORE you have the pet, a serious look at how much time you have to offer the animal is important. Different pets will have different time requirements for feeding, for grooming, for exercise and mental/emotional wellbeing. Different pets will require more time interacting than others. In general, dogs tend to need the most time from us. Cats tend to be the pet more able to be at home alone for the day.
- Environment – BEFORE you have your new pet, evaluate what type and size of environment you have to offer this little life. How large is your home? Do you have a yard and how much room is available for the new pet? Is there room for the pet’s things – like bedding, food, bowls, and supplies. Dogs again will require more room inside and outside. Even small dogs have a mandatory need for exercise and outdoor time. Fish probably top the list at needing the least amount of space. The tank doesn’t move and the biggest requirement is space for food and supplies.
- Lifestyle – BEFORE the new pet comes home, critically evaluate what type of life you live. Do you have small children, older children, no children? There will be pets that are better for different age groups, even seniors. Do you lead an active lifestyle or are you primarily at home or close to home? There will be pets (or even certain breeds with dogs) that will be better suited to how active you are, how much time you have, and much care they need. Do you travel? Do you camp or hike? Do you prefer reading or sewing or cooking? Your pet will need you! Plan accordingly!
- Budget – BEFORE the new pet is purchased, make a budget of monthly expenses for your household. Is there room in your budget for the pet? Be sure to include all the pet’s needs – initial purchase, food for the month, supplies (bowls, leash, toys, treats, clothes! tank accessories, etc.), and don’t forget medical care. You may want to factor in pet insurance or allow money in your budget to put away in an account for future medical needs. We can’t predict when or in what way our pets will need medical care. It’s not fun to not have the funds to cover medical needs your pet may have. This includes fish and mice and rats, etc.! We love them all. Horses top the list easily in monthly budget demands. Cats and dogs are next.
If any of the topics presented here by Dr. Kerri McMahon stump you and you don’t know what to think, please give us a call! We are all pet owners and have firsthand experience with the needs of pets of all types. Plus, who doesn’t love talking about their little loved ones?! Stay tuned for the next blog in our series that will help you prepare for your new pet.