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7 Factors to Consider Before Becoming a Pet Owner

7 Factors to Consider Before Becoming a Pet Owner


    Having been a dog owner since 1979, I’m a total advocate for pet ownership. The benefits that one can get from having a pet are enormous. My dogs have the uncanny ability to help me to start each day right. However, I also have to admit that pets are not for everyone.

    So if you are thinking of getting a pet, here are seven factors to consider before you do bring one home. You don’t want to make the mistake of bringing home the wrong type of pet or finding out that your lifestyle is not suited for pets after all.

    1. Time for a Pet

    Many pets like puppies and kittens are so cute that many people can’t resist bringing them home. However, the realities of pet ownership soon set in when one realizes the great responsibilities involved in their care. One of these responsibilities is the time required for pets.

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    The most common domestic pets such as dogs and cats require considerable time for them. This is especially the case for dogs as they are not happy if left alone for long periods of time. If you can’t devote enough daily time to play and interact with your pet, do not get one that requires a lot of time.

    Consider pets that are less time demanding such as fish. But remember, you still need time to clean and maintain fish tanks. So part of your research should be looking at the amount of time and maintenance required for each type of pet. Be totally honest with yourself as to just how much time you can devote to a pet.

    2. Cost of Pet Care

    Some pets like dogs, cats and birds can have significant health costs, especially if they get ill or injured. Talk to existing pet owners to find out what their average annual veterinary costs are.

    You don’t want to be in a position where you can’t afford the regular and unexpected vet costs for a pet. It is so unfortunate when pet owners have to give up their animals just because they can’t afford the cost of pet care. If these innocent animals cannot get new homes, they are often euthanized as a result.

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    3. Appropriate Dwelling for a Pet

    Different pets require different suitable dwellings. Although cats, fish and gerbils can be happy in almost any type of residential or office dwelling, dogs do better in certain environments. Dogs can be quite happy in both houses and high-rise buildings as long as there is access to outdoor parks or trails nearby.

    With the introduction of dog litter boxes, many dogs actually do well in high-rise apartments or condos — but it is still nice to have parks nearby where they can get fresh air and exercise. All of my dogs have been potty trained indoors using either a dog litter box or equivalent. We don’t have to go outdoors if the weather is terrible, and I’m not worried if I end up coming home late. They just go to their dog litter box that is placed in a designated spot indoors.

    Of course, not all buildings allow dogs so make sure that you check with your building rules regarding pets before bringing one home. There is the noise factor, as you don’t want your dog to annoy your neighbors. This is the same for birds as well.

    4. Amount of Travel

    Related to the amount of time you have available for a pet, is the amount of travel you do. If you spend 50% of your time doing overnight travel away from home for work, you might want to reconsider which type of pet might be best for you — or if you should have on at all. If you have other family members or people like pet-sitters who can come and look after your pet while you are away, it might be okay.

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    However, if you have to end up boarding your animal for two weeks each month during your trips, this might indicate that you should not become a pet owner. A few days of boarding here and there are okay, but anything more is not really fair to your pet.

    If you have to travel a lot and still want to be a pet owner, consider having animals who might not miss you as much (fish) and those who are easy to take care of by other people while you are away.

    5. Allergies and Children

    If you or any of your family members have allergies, certain animals will not be appropriate for your home. Some animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs do really well with children as do cats and some breeds of dogs. However, some breeds of dogs and exotic animals might not be appropriate in families with infants and small children. Again, do your research to assess the suitability of specific animals and breeds for your family.

    6. Training Required for a Pet

    Another area you really have to be honest with yourself is your own ability and time required to train a pet. Some pets (like dogs) require a lot of training while others (like gerbils) will not involve any training since they stay mostly inside their cages. Many dogs have been abandoned because of ignorant owners who failed to properly train their dogs.

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    Dog experts claim that there are no bad dogs. Instead, there are bad dog owners who did not adequately provide the right training for their dogs. If you are a potential dog owner, make sure that you get proper dog obedience training, which means education for both yourself as well as your dog. Training also includes housetraining for dogs, cats and ferrets.

    7. Do Your Research and Prepare For Lifelong Commitment

    Pet ownership should never be on impulse. It’s not fair to the animals especially if they end up getting abandoned and/or abused. Do adequate research on what is required in order to be a successful pet owner and prepare for a lifelong commitment to the pet.

    The rewards of pet ownership are great, as I’ve experienced with the four Lhasa Apso dogs I’ve owned so far. However, there are great responsibilities as well and as long as you are realistic about them, the personal growth and happiness you will have with your pet are limitless.

    (Photo credit: Young Businessman Holding a Chihuahua via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

    If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

    One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

    Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

    In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

    Why you can’t sleep through the night

    The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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    Stress

    If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

    Exposure to blue light before sleep time

    We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

    While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

    Eating close to bedtime

    Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

    Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

    Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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    Medical conditions

    In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

    The vicious sleep cycle

    The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

    Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

    You get a bad night’s sleep
    –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
    –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
    –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

      You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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      How to sleep better (throughout the night)

      To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

      1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

      What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

      Here are a few suggestions:

      • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
      • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
      • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
      • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
      • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

      2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

      What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

      • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
      • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
      • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
      • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

      3. Adjust your sleep temperature

      Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

      Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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      Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

      Sleep better form now on

      Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

      I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

      As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

      Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

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