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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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