Dark Mode Off / On
Image credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/-itLKdE7ojA

Around 66% of U.S. households have a furry, feathery, or scaly friend living under their roof with them, and many of these homes even have multiple pets. It’s no secret that people love animals, and many would even say they prefer their winged or four-legged friends to other people. 

You may have had pets growing up, but whether kids have gotten in the way or you’ve simply been too busy to give a pet the time it deserves, it’s been a long time since you’ve awoken to someone licking your toes. Perhaps it’s time you brought a pet into your home, but before you do, you must consider whether your home and family are ready for a pet. 

The Benefits Of Having A Pet 

Teaching Kids Responsibility 

Pets are a great way to teach your kids to be more responsible, especially if they’re at an age when they should learn how to take care of themselves and become more independent. Having a pet teaches kids how to think about more than just themselves. Even if everyone shares walking or feeding duties, they must carve out time to care for the family cat, dog, rabbit, or other pet rather than sleeping late or watching TV. 

Improved Health 

Bringing a pet into the home also offers plenty of mental and physical health benefits for everyone. The extra companionship is a great way to prevent loneliness, especially if you work from home while everyone else is at work or school. On the physical side, getting a pet encourages you to be more active. You will need to take a dog for a walk at least twice a day, so you can get in some crucial exercise more often and it doesn’t feel like a chore the same way going to the gym or running would be. 

Emotional Support 

Your pet can also provide emotional support when you’re feeling down. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but you can make a bad day better by getting home and having your pet be so excited to see you that they don’t know what to do with themselves. Instead of spending the rest of the day wallowing, you can distract yourself by snuggling up to your pet and watching TV or relaxing. Many dogs are also attuned to human emotions and will do everything they can to cheer you up. 

A Fun Environment 

If you feel your home isn’t as fun as it used to be because your kids have grown up, a pet can change all that. It’s like having a toddler all over again who is happy to run around, play, and entertain you (when they aren’t catching up on their snoozing). Whether you get a cat or a dog, you can spend the evenings playing with your pet by throwing balls for them to collect or watching your cat surmount the sofa. 

Giving You Purpose 

Having a pet means you are responsible for something that depends on you for everything. You need to feed and care for them, take them for walks, or help them get better if they hurt themselves or get sick. These essentials give you the purpose you might be looking for and ensure you have a reason to get up in the morning and come home on time after work. While this might mean you should change your lifestyle, it will only benefit you in the long run. 

How To Know If Your Home Is Ready For A Pet 

Your Kids Love Animals 

Most kids love animals, which is usually a sign that your home could be ready for a pet sooner rather than later. However, it’s not always enough for your child to love cats, dogs, birds, or lizards. They need to feel comfortable with them. It’s easy for children to develop phobias after one bad experience, so make sure they are not nervous around animals. If you have friends or family with pets, ask if your kids can spend a little time with them to see how they treat them or react. 

Your Child Can Handle Household Chores 

If your children are old enough to handle household chores, they are likely old enough to be able to take care of pets. There might be times when you or your partner are out of the house and otherwise occupied, but your dog still needs to go for a walk or be fed. Your kids should be old enough and responsible enough to take care of this. The same goes for cleaning up their mess. 

Your Children Have Plenty of Energy 

Many pets need their owners to match their energy, especially when they are younger and more playful. If your kids are still at that age when they want to play all the time, then a pet is perfect for them, even if they’re not old enough to take them for walks by themselves. Instead, they can play around the house after school or on weekends to give their pets the activity and social experience they need for a healthy and positive life. 

Everyone Is On Board 

There is no point in getting a pet unless everyone in the house is on board. While you might think you can take care of your cat or dog all by yourself, you won’t be able to be there at all times. This means the responsibility will fall to others, and if someone didn’t want the pet to begin with, they may be resistant to taking it for walks or playing with it. Before getting a pet, sit down with everyone and discuss your plans to ensure everyone understands and agrees. 

You Can Afford A Pet 

Pets can be expensive, so you need to guarantee you have enough money to cover their care, food, vet bills, and much more. The average vet bill in the U.S. can be as much as $1500 per year depending on how often you visit and any other health issues (especially for older animals you’ve adopted). If you cannot afford a pet, you should not get one at all. Wait until you’re financially comfortable, and then reconsider. 

You Have the Time 

Likewise, your pet will need plenty of exercise and attention but they won’t enjoy this if you don’t have the time to look after them. This is especially true if your household is small and everyone spends lots of time out of the house. Gailing to give your pets–dogs in particular–the proper attention can impact their physical health and mental well-being, so don’t rush into getting a pet only to realize you don’t have the time to properly care for one.

You Live In A Great Neighborhood 

While you can find pets anywhere, living in a great neighborhood with plenty of other pets and amenities can make things much better. Typically, these neighborhoods have large accessible green spaces for your pet to play with, and there are plenty of other families nearby with pets, too. For dogs, this ensures they have a great social life and you can get tips from other owners. 

There Is Enough Space

Whether at home or around the neighborhood, you need plenty of space for your pet to be able to roam freely. Cats love to explore and the size of your home should be suitable for the type of dog you get. You might be surprised how big some dog breeds get, so keeping them cooped up in an apartment is not beneficial. If you want guinea pigs or rabbits, you’ll need a yard to ensure they have a more natural environment, too. 

Your Home Is Hazard-Free

Take some time to learn about the most common household hazards for pets. These can include different types of food or plants that are toxic to some animals. Your household layout or location could also be a problem. If you live near a busy street, make sure you keep your pet inside at all times. You can also consider babyproofing your home when your pet is still young to protect them from sharp corners and other potential problems. 

Your Kids Won’t Stop Asking About It! 

If your kids spend all their time coming up with beagle names or bringing home dog toys even though you don’t have a dog, it might be time to accept the inevitable. Many kids will go through a phase of asking for a dog but this passes sooner rather than later. However, if they continue to pester you about a dog every birthday or Christmas, it’s a sign they are serious about it and they are more likely to be responsible enough to handle pet care. 

A New Family Member

Getting a pet can be a huge step for your family and there will be a lot of early mornings and mess around the home. However, that’s what you’ve signed up for, and the positives vastly outweigh the negatives. If you have read through this and ticked every point, consider your home ready for a pet to give an animal the same unconditional love they will shower on you. 

Heather Brummett

I am Heather Brummett . I'm just a real mom, sharing my real life experiences with the world. Thank you for being a part of my world. Here you will find recipes, crafts, fun ideas for the kids, how to work at home, encouragement, inspiration, and the latest news in and around Houston. To be featured or for information on freelance work contact me at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *