Getting a new pet is a decision that can be difficult for many, a Bradford veterinarian offers helpful hints and advice that might help. We have all walked into the local pet store and fallen in love with the adorable puppy or kitten or gone on the web to find what cute puppies are up for adoption from local breeders/kijiji. If you kids have been bugging for a new pet, you need to ask if your family is ready for a pet.
Experts say that the best age to introduce a family dog to children is around 10. At this age, they are ready to be actively involved in the training process. They are also passed the toddler stage where they ingest everything and are constantly putting things into their mouths. For preschool/early school year age kids, pocket pets and reptiles can make great, low maintenance additions. Guinea pigs, rats, snakes and leopard geckos are amongst the more easy to handle and care for and are worthwhile considering if you are looking for a new pet.
A Bradford veterinarian offers some advice/questions for those considering adopting or purchasing a new pet for their family.
- Does your child seem relaxed and happy around animals?
- Can your child be gentle?
- Do you have the space required for the new addition?
- Are you at home often enough to give your pet attention, clean up after it and allow it to exercise properly?
- Have you thought about who will care for the pet when you are away/on vacation?
- Has your child stopped putting everything in his mouth?
- Are you sure that allergies won’t be a problem?
- Can you deal with a home that isn’t super-tidy?
- Are you financially prepared for pet-care costs? For breakdown of what to expect cost-wise for a dog or cat in the first year, please visit http://www.ovma.org/pet_owners/cost_of_owning_dog_cat.html. Pet insurance such as PetSecure http://www.petsecure.com/ is something that is also worthwhile considering.
- If you answered no to most or even all of these questions, you are certainly not ready for a new pet. But do not be discouraged! Once your life is a little more settled (i.e. kids are a little older and can handle more of the responsibility of a pet) the opportunity to have a family pet will come again. Remember that just because your family is not ready for a pet 24/7 does not mean no contact with animals. There are still plenty of opportunities to have your children interact with animals (i.e. petting zoos, farms and dog parks – always remember to ask the owner before letting your little ones pet an animal!).
If you are able to commit to the responsiblity of a new pet, you are in luck. Research has shown that people with pets are happier, healthier and suffer less depression. Visit http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm to learn more.
Bringing a new pet into the family is an important responsibility. Not being ready for a furry friend in your household can only lead to problems for you, your kids and pet. Being honest with yourself and knowing when the timing is right will lead to the joys of being an animal owner! When you are ready, you will know. Also, when choosing your pet, it is not just puppies and kittens that need a home. There are a lot of wonderful pets waiting for their forever homes at your local shelters.
If you do decide to adopt a pet, puppy or kitten, please visit your Braford veterinarian at Holland Street Veterinary Services within the first week for a visit to ensure they are healthy. One of our Veterinarians will perform a complimentary examination on your new pet.