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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 August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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