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The Pros and Cons of Getting a Pet

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Pet

Getting a pet is no easy decision. Emotional perks are undeniable, yet pets require time, understanding, and training. Particularly if you have kids, it can be difficult to gauge when you are ready for a pet. We all want a cuddly, warm friend to come home too, but responsibilities and costs required to properly take care of your pets are real. Carefully considering the consequences of welcoming a new pet into your home can make all the difference in keeping your pet safe and happy (and keeping you sane). While drawbacks to having a pet may be challenging, if you properly prepare, getting a pet can be a smooth experience. The following pro and cons of having a pet will help you decide if you are ready to rise to the occasion.

Pros:

1. Increased Personal Safety

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    One definite positive to having a pet unfortunately only applies to larger, free roaming pets. Mainly in the case of dogs, pets can bring a degree of safety to your life. A barking dog scares away most home invaders, and medium to large sized dogs provide security on late night walks. However, even smaller dogs, cats, and exotics have alerted their owners to approaching dangers like fire or gas leaks. When considering whether or not to get a pet, don’t forget that your new family member could be a crucial element in keeping you safe.

    2. Receiving Love 

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      No matter what kind of pet you get, you are sure to experience increased joy and love. Pets have a way of calming us down, and playing our heartstrings in a way that nothing else can. Pets can do a lot for helping you out of slumps and turning around a bad day.

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      3. Learning Patience 

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        Particularly when it comes to younger pet owners, having a pet can teach us valuable lessons. Training your pet can be a lesson in patience, while treating your pet well can help children learn how to be gentle and understanding. 

        4. Pets Empathize with You 

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          Another positive to getting a pet is having a family member who will always empathize with you. Regardless of what pet you get, most larger pets can sense when we are feeling under the weather or have had a bad day. Having something to cuddle with that genuinely cares that you feel better is a huge boost on those less than perfect days.

          5. Improved Mental Health

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            Having a pet is also a powerful way to keep yourself mentally functional. Across the board, pets of all types have proven to improve the health of patients with mental health challenges. From treating those with post traumatic stress disorder, to helping those who struggle with depression, pets are a helpful addition to combat a range of disorders. Not only do these findings bring hope to those with health challenges, it also means that every day anxiety and stress can be greatly decreased by spending time with your pet.

            6. Saving an Animal from a Shelter

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                Finally, another major positive if you’re looking at adopting a shelter pet is the knowledge that you saved a life. Dogs, cats, and other animals in animal shelters are usually tame, and sometimes even trained. By adopting an animal thats been abandoned, you are giving a good home to a living thing, plus making room at overcrowded shelters. Unsurprisingly, pet owners who adopt animals from shelters often speak to the animals undying loyalty and joy at being adopted.

                Cons:

                1. Responsibility

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                  One drawback of getting a pet is an immediate increase in responsibility. Just like a young child, pets rely on you for absolutely everything. Not only that, if they have yet to be trained, they won’t understand your anger if they do something wrong. If you are someone with an over scheduled life, or doubt your children’s ability to step up to this responsibility, a small pet like a hamster or mouse might be a better first step.

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                  2. Allergies

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                    Another drawback to pets in the home are allergies. Especially if you don’t know what you’re allergic to, bringing a cat or a dog into your life can bring unexpected hurdles. Keep in mind that allergies grow worse each time you are exposed to an allergen, so spending limited time with animals in the past is not conclusive proof you aren’t allergic. If you’re unsure of your animal allergies, pet sitting for a friend or spending time volunteering for an animal shelter might be something you want to try first.

                    3. Possible Safety Hazards

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                      Another important consideration when getting a pet is whether or not the animal in question brings more hazards to your life. A pet might be a fine addition for families with young kids, however a large breed of dog for example, will require extra attention and training to make sure it is safe around children. Similarly, aggressive types of snakes or territorial pets may not be the best addition if you have dependents living with you. It is important to consider the needs of everyone in your house before getting a pet.

                      4. Cost

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                        Unfortunately, another drawback to having pets is a necessary evil. Just like humans, animals need to be healthy and happy. Before you get a pet, consider the average yearly veterinary cost of owning the type of animal you are looking at. Cats and dogs for example, require several different shots throughout their first year of life, as well as preventative shots and treatment throughout their lives. Additionally, outdoor pets are more prone to infections, lacerations and pest infestations that require veterinary care. Even if your animal never has a major accident, every animal will require you to pay for basic veterinary care to have a healthy and fulfilled life.

                        5. Poop

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                          There’s no getting around it – no matter what kind of animal you get, you will be required to clean up after them. Make sure you have a solid stomach when it comes to removing poop if you want a positive pet experience.

                          6. Schedule Disorder

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                              Finally, remember that bringing a pet home means you will sometimes be at the mercy of their schedule. Cats for example, are naturally nocturnal, and are likely to find their way on top of you while you try to sleep. Similarly, dogs, birds, and many exotic animals will sometimes feel the need to make as much noise as possible in the middle of the night. Be prepared to take on these challenges when you decide it’s time for a pet, and your transition into pet ownership will be much smoother.

                              Featured photo credit: raneko via flickr.com

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                              Alicia Prince

                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                              Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                              Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                              Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                              1. Exercise Daily

                              It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                              If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                              Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                              If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                              2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                              Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                              One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                              This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                              3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                              Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                              Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                              Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                              4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                              Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                              The basic nutritional advice includes:

                              • Eat unprocessed foods
                              • Eat more veggies
                              • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                              • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                              Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                5. Watch Out for Travel

                                Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                6. Start Slow

                                Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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