Before becoming a pet owner, you need to weigh out the pros and cons. Having a dog or a cat is a huge responsibility, and there are many things you need to think about before making this step.
Love and companionship. Coming back from work after a rough day and see your dog happy to see you is such a lovely feeling. The unconditional love a pet can offer is overwhelming; it literally makes my heart melt.
“I’m a believer in the beneficial effects of having a pet, and I’m impressed with the ability of dogs in particular to form bonds with human beings. I think the science is starting to support their special ability to do that,”
says psychiatrist Dr. Greg Fricchione, director of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine.
As Dr. Fricchione said, the effects of owning a pet are positive for both the animal and owner. Besides the emotional benefits of having a pet, experts attest physiological perks as well—for example, the Oxytocin chemical inside our bodies increases which improves social bonding and a good feeling.
“There was even a recent study in the journal Science about how oxytocin is boosted in both the dog and the human when a dog owner stares into eyes of the dog. That’s really fascinating,” says Dr. Fricchione.
However, this is the bright side of having a pet. Let’s move forward to the risks.
Domestic animals carry all sorts of parasites that can make a person sick. Cats are known for transmitting the Toxoplasma gondii parasite to humans, which causes a condition known as toxoplasmosis. Before you decide to buy a pet, make sure your immune system is within normal limits; otherwise, you risk getting sick.
Their faeces is also dangerous as it carries all sorts of bacteria. Another risk you take by buying a domestic animal is that you or your family could get allergic reactions. However, the most common danger is they could knock you over. Dr. Fricchione signals to be cautious if you have problems with gait and stability. Therefore, pay more attention to your pet around elders.
Are you ready for a pet?
Here are a few things you need to consider before becoming a pet owner. First of all, you need to be physically able to take care of it. How is your mental health? Having a dog or a cat requires a lot of energy. You will have to play, bathe, clean after your pet, and, more importantly, remember to feed it.
Besides all of that, are you financially ready to have a pet? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics statement, an average pet owner spends about $500 per year. However, other organizations say $1,600 per year, which is not something everyone can afford.