Pets are known to improve a person’s well-being. They offer comfort and companionship that can soothe feelings of loneliness and anxiety. 74% of pet owners when surveyed by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) reported mental health improvements from owning pets while 75% shared their family members and friends also benefitted from spending time with their pets.
In normal circumstances, the temptation to get a dog or a cat is present especially with social media feeds full of adorable pictures of people playing with pets. But as more people are feeling anxious due to the pandemic, the motivation to drive to the nearest adoption center is amplified. Don’t let the videos of well-trained dogs being obedient to their owners fool you. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility and you will need to make adjustments to your lifestyle. It won’t only be your personal haircare products that you’ll be buying online. The benefits and challenges of owning a pet go hand in hand. Consider these questions first before bringing a dog or a cat into your home.
1. Are you prepared to clean every day?
Dogs and cats shed a lot of hair especially those with thick coats. Breeds favored by most influencers like the Golden Retriever, Samoyed, and Corgis are notorious for leaving their fluff everywhere. To be in control of all the hair, owners need to accept regular house cleaning will be part of the norm. Routine grooming by brushing and combing can also help remove dead hairs before they wreak havoc on carpets and hard to reach room corners.
2. Do you have the free time for training and taking care of their needs?
They’re not called fur babies without a reason. Part of being a responsible owner is to train your pet to behave, which involves the tedious task of potty training and abiding with mealtimes. They need guidance and practice to know the dos and don’ts in your household. You can’t expect a puppy or a kitten to know that papers on your desk are off-limits.
3. Can you afford all the expenses that come with your pet?
Food, toys, medical check-ups, grooming and destroyed items can rack up a hefty bill if you’re not prepared to shoulder it. Better to do research on what kind of animal or breeds can fit your lifestyle in terms of financial resources. Maybe you’re better off starting small with a hamster or a fish if your savings account still needs time to grow.
4. How attached are you to your household items?
Remember when Mufasa told Simba that everything the light touches is their kingdom? Your pet thinks the same way with your house. No curtain, plant or toilet paper are safe from the onslaught of your pet’s playfulness and hyperactivity. You have to deal with teaching your pet which areas are off-limits, putting up fences, and regularly buying replacements.
5. Are the people living with you ok to share their space with a pet?
Not everyone in your house might be enthusiastic about sharing their space with a fur baby. It’s not only your lifestyle that has to be adjusted. Ask everyone in your household if they’re amenable to coexisting with a pet especially during inevitable destruction and times when you’re away. Have everyone tested for allergies to avoid health complications.
Owning a pet, in reality, is a different ball game than watching cute puppies running around and fluffy felines being surprised by cat Instagram filters. It takes time, money, effort and a lot of patience to take care of their needs and build a home they will come to love. But all the hard work will be worth it as experience their companionship and unconditional love.