Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. They bring happiness, entertainment, and companionship, and definitely make life interesting. According to the Humane Society of the United States, pet ownership has increased significantly since 1970. Based on 2012 statistics, 62 percent of American households have at least one pet and spend more than $50 billion dollars annually to care for their pet(s).
Studies have shown that owning a pet can be beneficial to your health. Here are some of those benefits.
- Improves your mood. If you’re feeling sad or lonely, pets can lighten your mood. Certain pets can provide great companionship and unconditional love.
- Keeps you on your toes. If your daily routine lacks exercise, a dog may help jumpstart your exercise routine, leading to a healthier you. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have found that people who own pets have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Allows you to meet other people. Owning a pet allows you to connect with other people. While a dog may get excited to go to the dog park, an owner may get just as excited. Going to a dog park allows the owner to meet and visit with other pet owners, swapping stories and sharing valuable information about caring for their pets.
If you want to welcome a pet into your life, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Owning a pet is a big commitment financially, emotionally, and physically. Things to consider before buying a pet are:
- The annual cost of caring for a pet. Try to estimate what a pet will cost you monthly/annually. Common things to consider include food and veterinarian bills. Other things to consider are the cost of toys, fencing, leashes, aquariums, heat lamps, cages, kennels, etc. If money is tight, it may be wise to hold off on welcoming a pet into your family.
- Do you have time to love your pet? Pets, such as cats and dogs, need attention and companionship, especially if they’re young. If you don’t have time for them, it’s not the right time to welcome one into your family.
- Do you have time to be active with your pet? Different pets have different physical needs. Dogs like to walk and play fetch. If you can’t devote time to these activities, it may be wise to consider a different pet.
- Identify the pros and cons of having a pet. It’s important to think about why you want a pet. Is it for the companionship or because your children are nagging you to buy them a pet? If it’s the latter, it may not be the right time to buy a pet. It’s important to identify why owning a pet is important to you and your family because owning a pet comes with responsibilities and challenges.
If you decide the time is right to welcome a pet into your life, here are some links that can help you identify the pet that’s right for you.
Animal Planet Pet Picker. The Pet Picker will help you figure out which pet is right for you and your family. It may be a fish, iguana, or ferret. It may also tell you that now is not the right time to have a pet.
Animal Planet Dog Breed Selector. The Dog Breed Selector will help identify the right breed for you and your family. Some breeds are easy to train, energetic, or hypo allergenic.
Animal Planet Cat Breed Selector. Like the Dog Breed Selector, the Cat Breed Selector helps identify the right breed for you and your family. Some of the differences in rating characteristics that I noticed include the cat’s intelligence level, docility, and vocality (how often a cat meows).
Because it’s National Pet Month, West Bend Cares will feature content relevant to pets throughout May.
In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about a specific pet, here are helpful links.