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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 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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