It can be very difficult to determine if a pet is the right decision for your family and there are many factors to keep in mind when weighing your options. Of course, families need to determine if it is the right time to bring a pet into the household. Owning a pet can be challenging and time-consuming, so a family must look at the drawbacks versus the benefits.
When it comes to owning a pet, there are many benefits, including some a family may not even consider.
- Improving mental, physical, and emotional well-being: Animals tend to be very instinctive and can tell if you are having a bad day or are feeling under the weather. Though pets have a tendency to show love and affection all the time, you may notice they show a little extra when you need it the most. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), owning a pet can reduce your blood pressure, stress levels, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Companionship:Owning a pet offers family members companionship and unconditional love. Going for a walk, playing in the backyard, or simply enjoying a snuggle session while reading a book or watching a movie are just a few of the many activities that your pet can enjoy with you. The constant companionship a pet provides can also have a positive impact on a person’s emotional and physical well-being.
- Responsibility: Having a pet encourages children to learn about responsibility. Though some children may be too young for certain tasks, all children can take part in helping to take care of the family pet in one way or another. A pet will need to continually be taken care of – from being bathed, fed, and given water, to simply just being played with. Being given a responsibility will help your child learn about accountability and may also improve their self-esteem because they will feel accomplished.
- Encouraging an Active Lifestyle: At Educational Playcare, Wellness is one of our Core Values because we care deeply about good physical and mental health. Owning a pet can encourage a more active lifestyle for your family. There are many activities that a pet can be a part of that encourage more physical activity in your family’s daily lives. Taking your pet for a run or walk, playing with them outside, or simply giving them a bath can help your family become more physically active.
- Making new friends: Some families may not even consider that owning a pet can help your family meet new people. When people take their pets on a walk or bring them to a park, there are many opportunities to strike up conversations with others. This may lead to new friendships and play dates – for the whole family, pets included!
Even if a family understands all of the benefits of owning a pet, there are still many other factors to consider when trying to decide if it is the right time to welcome one into your home. Every family’s situation is going to be unique and there is no “one size fits all” guide for determining if a family is ready for a pet. With that in mind, here are a few factors to consider:
- Ready to Take on the Responsibility– Owning a pet will require a lot of time and energy. Pets will always need to be taken care of and it is important that your family is ready to make that commitment.
- Finding the Right Pet– Though a family may have a dream pet that they’ve always wanted, it may not be the best animal to have in the household at this time. It is very important that when considering welcoming a pet into the family, it is one that will be a good fit for each family member and your family’s unique circumstances.
- Being Financially Prepared– Preparing for the different responsibilities of owning a pet also includes being financially prepared. Depending on what pet your family is interested in getting, costs you may need to consider include food, toys, habitat needs (cages, tanks, etc.), veterinarian visits and shots, grooming, and training.
How has owning a pet benefited your family?