The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership – Are You Really Ready for Pet Ownership? The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership – Are You Really Ready for Pet Ownership?

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership – Are You Really Ready for Pet Ownership?

I have always had a pet in my life. Even as a small child, I had pets. Some my parents would let me keep…and others that belonged to neighbors, that I had to return! I have had dogs, cats, birds, and fish.

As a pet owner, I feel that I can speak freely on my experiences with pet ownership. I had two Shih Tzu’s, Sugar and Domino for twelve years each. I got each of them when they were only months old. They have both crossed over the “Rainbow Bridge”.  Sugar in 2008, and Domino crossed on February 25, 2011.

I believe there is a health benefit to having pets. It is said that they can lower your stress level, and blood pressure. We have all had one of those days when we are not feeling well. One day I had a headache, and was lying on the sofa and fell asleep, only to wake up to warm bodies on me. They had both jumped up on the sofa and cuddled up with me, Domino on my feet and Sugar on my back…it was so cute, I actually forgot about my headache!

Then there are the days when I would arrive home from a stressful day a work, only to be greeted by the sound two yapping little dogs ready to go outside!  Once in the backyard running, and playing with them made the stress of the day slowly fade away.

The Pros:
  • A pet is a wonderful addition to a family. I say “addition”, because eventually they become a part of your family.
  • They are cute, playful and can make you laugh.
  • Dogs are great for protecting you and your home.
  •  If you get one from a shelter you are saving a life.

The Cons:
  • Pets are not toys.
  • Require commitment
  • They can be expensive
  • Hard work
  • Require attention and maintenance

Pets Are Not Toys:
Have you ever noticed people’s reaction to pets in a pet shop. You’ll hear “Awww, look at this one…so cute!” or “I want one”. You may also have noticed someone in the street with a well-groomed dog, and think “that is a cute dog, I sure would like to have one like that”. The truth of the matter is that they are all cute…but require commitment, maintenance and can be expensive!

Pets are not toys, and you should never ever give one as a gift. Pets given as gifts usually end up on the streets or in the animal shelter.  Why? Because the person giving the gift thought it was cute, and would make the recipient happy. The recipient accepting the pet also thought it was cute…until it came time to care for it.

Pets Require Commitment:
Some dogs and cats can live up to 15 years and some longer. Are you committed to taking care of a living-breathing animal for 15 years? There are some birds, especially exotic ones that can live over 50 years.

They Can Be Expensive:
Pets can be expensive! Be mindful of your income before deciding to get a pet. I am not referring to pet food unless you have big pets such as several big dogs or horses!  I am referring to Vet bills, unexpected medical expenses, grooming and boarding.

I will refer to my expenses for my dogs. When they were puppies my grooming bill was $50 per dog approximately every 6 weeks, plus $10 tip ($110 every 6 weeks). They saw the Vet once a year for all of their shots, which was approximately $65 per dog. Unless they got sick…which my did several times. The office visit was $35 plus additional if they needed medication. Did you know that some pet medications could cost as much as human medications?

If you take your pet to an animal hospital they are very expensive. I paid $65 for an emergency visit, this was just for walking in! Then you have your Vet charges and medications. I also paid to have them spayed and neutered.

As my dogs turned in to adults, the grooming charges went up to $65 per dog. Thank God, the yearly visit to the Vet bill remained the same, however, they now needed to be on medication for heartworms, flea and ticks. A six-month package of each would run me approximately $35 - $50 depending. Since the packages contained only six doses, that would only last me 3 months because I had two dogs. I estimated it at being approximately $80 for both treatments every 3 months.

As pets get older, they can start experiencing health problems. Sugar was diagnosed with heart problems in August 2008. She was put on daily medications. In October she was rushed to the animal hospital on three occasions. A few days before she passed she was put on oxygen at $25 an hour. She stayed there for 4 hours ($100).

On the day that Sugar passed, I rushed her to the animal hospital where they began to work on her. They called me to let me know that she had passed, and let me know that I had a balance of  $650 due. I chose to have her cremated and put in an urn for an additional $500.

Domino got sick shortly after Sugar passed, and started chewing on his leg, which required a Vet visit and medication.

Now without Sugar, I only had Domino to worry about. Everything was okay for about two more years. Domino got sick in December 2010, right after Christmas. I took him to his regular Vet, and then there where three more visits to the animal hospital, two in the middle of the night. He had test done, x-rays and was put on medication. Domino had a tumor and past at home on February 25, 2011. I also had him cremated, and he now sits in my curio cabinet next to Sugar.

Hard Work
Did I say hard work? When you get a new puppy or kitten, it requires constant attention, and you will be cleaning up after them. You must pet proof your house! Just as you would for a child. You must take time to train them. This means getting your kitten use to the litter box. Did you know that young kittens have to go several times a day…so yes, you have to take them to the box…several times a day. I had them sectioned off in room outside of my kitchen with a folding gate while I was away. He told me to never give them full run of the house even when I was at home until they became adults. This stops them from getting into things and chewing in other parts of the house. The room was big enough for me to put their feeding bowls and water on one side, and their beds and puppy pads in other areas.

I took them out in the mornings, evenings and at night. I am so glad I have a fenced in backyard. Some people have to walk their dogs!  Taking them out three times a day was cute at first, but after awhile, you realize that you have got to stop in the middle of that good movie, or get up a little earlier for work to take them out. Oh yeah, my husband was on yard patrol with his pooper-scooper!

Sometimes, I would come home and they had been playing in their food, and missed the puppy pad!  Then there was the time when I came home and one had diarrhea and the other was spitting up. Oh, well that comes with the luxury of having pets. I would just clean it up. I can’t tell you how many times that I would be sitting at the dinner table and one would decide to throw their dinner back up!  I would have to run and get the cleaning supplies, and then clean them up. You should always clean up their messes immediately, this eliminates staining and odor. I had to make sure that I kept everything away from them, if I dropped anything they would both come running. Pets will eat anything off of the floor. When Sugar was teething, I bought her teething rings…she still chewed up my coffee table leg. Domino took out my Christmas lights! I am sure that some of you have had your experiences with cleaning up after pets.

Require Attention and Maintenance:
I don’t care what type of pet you have…it requires attention and maintenance. Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, hamster…etc. require play periods and some belly rubs and hugs. Dogs especially love human touch.

When you walk your dog the responsible thing to do as a pet parent is to carry a bag to pick up after them. If you have a pet in a cage…you must clean its cage. Birds will throw food all over the place, go in their water, which must be changed every day.

I currently have a 45 gallon fish aquarium that I maintain. I have approximately 60 tropical fish. I change 15% of their water, clean the sand, filter and the glass. I carry buckets of clean water to refill the tank. I do this, every Saturday…whether I want to or not!

I chose my dogs and my fish, they did not choose me. In doing so, I made a commitment to care for them and help them live happy lives.

Before you choose to become a Pet Owner, please consider some of the things that I have mentioned. If your lifestyle does not give you the time to take care of a pet…don’t get one until you have the time to commit. Also, please don’t buy an animal. A lot of pet shops get their dogs from puppy mills. Consider adoption. Check with you local animal shelter, they always have wonderful animals just looking for a forever home.

My intentions are not to discourage you from getting a pet, but only to let you know the requirements behind those cute little faces. Please take time to think before rushing out to get a pet, don’t buy on impulse, check your finances…and your heart. Are you ready for the commitment?


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