Millions of people worldwide understand the joys of pet ownership, and many of us wouldn’t want to be without our special friends. They provide comfort, companionship, make you laugh, and have unique personalities and character traits that make them all the more endearing.
Owning a pet is great for kids, who not only enjoy the benefits of having a companion animal, but to learn some valuable lessons about responsibility, empathy, and the nature of living creatures. There are so many benefits to owning pets, but they do sometimes cause problems as well. If you own a pet, you may well encounter some of these challenges during your pet’s lifetime, so it makes sense to prepare for anything that could arise.
Preparing for pet ownership
The best way to avoid many potential problems is to be well-prepared before you bring your new pet home. You should consider the following issues and make sure you’ve taken all the right steps to ensure pet ownership is as trouble-free as possible.
1. Do you know how to care for this pet?
Different species of animals need specific care and feeding, and if they don’t get everything they need you’ll be facing vets’ bills, not to mention having an unhappy pet. If you’ve never owned an animal before, find out as much as you can from reliable sources online or in guidebooks, and have a chat with your local veterinarian, who will have in-depth knowledge about possible problems that can occur with specific kinds of pets. It’s also important to have a clear picture of how much a pet is likely to cost so that you can budget accordingly.
2. Do you have enough time for this pet?
The amount of time you need to devote to a pet will vary according to its needs, for instance, if you have a reptile, you’ll need to keep it clean and well-fed, but it won’t require daily walks like a dog. If your time is limited or you are away from home for long periods throughout the day, a dog isn’t going to be very happy – he needs someone around, and he needs plenty of exercise to stay fit and well. So while a dog might sound great, you need to understand how much time and attention they’ll need and be sure you can provide it.
3. Is this the right pet for your family?
You should consider your family’s needs as well as those of a potential pet to make the right match. If you have young children for example, not only are they time and energy consuming in themselves, but you don’t want a pet that’s going to be too boisterous or not patient enough to tolerate the way small children may behave. A highly-strung Siamese cat or an endlessly energetic terrier might not be the most suitable choice for instance.
If you’re well-prepared, know what you’re taking on, and have chosen a pet that suits your needs and your lifestyle, you shouldn’t have too many problems. Nevertheless, some issues might crop up from time to time.
Charges for veterinary treatment can be very high, running into thousands of dollars for broken bones or long-term health care. You could set aside some money each month to cover any emergency costs, but even then you may struggle to cover a serious illness or injury. Not being able to afford a beloved pet’s essential veterinary treatment is highly stressful, but there are two ways in which you can reduce the risks of having expensive vet bills:
1. Insurance: Pet insurance is available on most companion animals, and very often you’ll be able to pay in monthly installments. Annual charges for pets depend on what the animal is, and its medical history, but even the most expensive policies will be considerably less costly than an emergency vet’s bill.
2. Assurance: Rather than paying to insure your pet, you could choose a monthly fee-paying care plan instead. Companies such as Pet Assure team up with veterinarians to provide discounts on all treatment costs, so instead of paying full price for regular treatments or emergency care, you’ll get it at considerably less. A pet assurance plan helps you cover all your regular bills as well as emergency treatment or long-term health care.
Animals are susceptible to psychological problems just like humans, and they may develop behaviors that you’d rather they didn’t. For example, a cat who feels stressed may take to spraying urine in the house. If your pet seems unhappy or starts exhibiting undesirable behavior, talk to your vet first of all. They can check for any physical causes, and if none are found, advise how to handle the problem behavior. There are pheromone sprays and plug-ins available that help calm animals down and encourage better behavior, so your vet might recommend trying one of these, in addition to making any changes to your pet’s environment that could resolve the problem.
If the issue is serious or doesn’t improve, you might need to get help from a pet psychologist or behaviorist, who should be able to identify what’s causing the behavior and show you how to manage it.
Dogs are loyal and loving companions, but they are also very powerful creatures with a lot of teeth! If your dog starts disobeying your commands or showing any signs of aggression or rebelliousness, you need to seek professional guidance straight away. It may be a simple case of your not having the skills to handle the dog in the way it needs, and these can very often be taught. But you shouldn’t struggle with an unruly dog, as the situation will only get worse and someone could end up getting hurt.
There are very few problems pets cause that can’t be handled with a minimum of fuss if you’ve taken the trouble to prepare correctly and follow the guidelines on caring for your pet. If there’s ever anything that troubles you about your pet, talk to your veterinarian in the first instance, and hopefully, you’ll be able to resolve any issues with a minimum of stress.