You’re out on a walk and see a dog, making you long for a pet of your own. Of course, along with contemplating the benefits of pet ownership, which are many, it’s wise to hit ‘paws’ button on the subject in order to properly consider all the aspects of raising a new dog or cat. Read on to learn more about pet discipline, training and the pros and cons of adopting a new fur friend and the types of pets to consider:
The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership
There are many pros and cons that go along with pet ownership. The following is a breakdown of each:
- Mental/Social: Loneliness is a very real problem as we age. Our ability to get out and about goes down, and we often spend more hours of the day alone than in the company of others. Thankfully, pets can serve as real-life companionship that will add joy and purpose to a lonely existence. It has also been proven that pets can help increase dopamine and serotonin levels naturally, which can lead to more clarity and less depression, promoting mental health.
- Physical/Health: Not only does pet ownership provide companionship and mental benefits, but it also has quantifiable health benefits. Pet ownership has been proven to reduce blood pressure. Walking a dog also encourages activity and exercise, which is another health benefit. You will also note a decrease in stress levels, and since stress is closely tied to many physical maladies, this is yet another way that owning a dog can make you healthier.
While the benefits of pet ownership are many, that isn’t to say there aren’t any drawbacks. In fact, owning a pet is a huge commitment in terms of time and monetary cost thanks to the price of meds, food vet visits. Traveling also becomes more challenging, since you have to make allowances for your pet’s care while away or choose destinations to which you can bring your pet.
The Type of Pet to Choose
While many people will opt for a dog, that isn’t the only type of pet you can choose. In fact, a cat might be a better fit if you are physically unable to walk a dog. The following are two main options of pets you can choose from:
- Dog: You can choose from either a puppy or adult, purchased from a breeder or rescue center. While puppies are fun, sometimes an adult dog is easier-to-manage, because they have less energy and need less constant attention.
- Cat: With a cat, your options are much the same as a dog, choosing a kitten or adult variety. You can also opt for a purebred cat or one that is from a shelter.
In addition to the factors outlined above, you need to think about the following when determining your suitability for pet ownership. Again, while owning a pet is an overwhelmingly awarding experience, it can be challenging if you choose a pet that is poorly suited to your current lifestyle, that is of course unless you want to make lifestyle changes to accommodate your pet. Here are some factors to consider:
- Your living situation: Do you have a fenced in yard? Is there room for a dog to run around. If not, would a cat be a better fit or a low energy dog?
- What is your desired pet? Are you a cat or dog person by nature? Would you be willing to change and try another type of pet in order to gain companionship and promote overall wellness?
- What is your desired activity level? Do you want to “have” to walk regularly in order to stay fit? If so, a high-energy dog could work, but know that you will have to maintain their routine, no matter how you feel that day. Do you desire this, or would you prefer a pet that lays quietly at your feet and just provides much-desired companionship?
- What are your special health issues or care needs? Do you frequently have to go into the hospital for various medical reasons or visit the doctor regularly? If so, do you have a plan in place for your animal’s care when you are away?
Types of Training
Finally, when considering pet ownership you have to think about training. All dogs will benefit from some level of training be it at home training or a professionally led class.
Adding a pet to your life can be marvelous and bring many benefits, but it’s important—before you adopt or purchase a pet of any kind— to consider all the factors that go into being a responsible pet parent.