The decision to bring a pet into the family household can be an exciting one. It’s often the case that it is not really a decision, but it just kind of happened. How many households have ended up with a cat or dog because of a stray they happened to pick up one day?
The decision to bring a pet into the house is not one that should be taken lightly. Pets can be expensive and those who are struggling to begin with do not really need the extra burden of another mouth to feed. That being said, it’s not always easy to explain to a child the realities of day to day life. Having a pet is good for children as it teaches them responsibility, empathy, and kindness. A child will usually form a bond with their pet that is lifelong. Children with disabilities find a dog to be a calming influence and a source of strength in an uncertain world.
However if the family is having problems with finances adding a dog to the mix is not going to help. First off there is the expense of veterinarian visits; a new pet of any kind should have a thorough examination to ensure that the animal has no communicable diseases. The veterinarian will also need to ensure that the pet is up to date on its shots, such as a rabies vaccination. Each visit to the vet’s office is an expense and each shot given is one too. Pets that are not used for breeding purposes should be spayed or neutered so that no unwanted animals are brought into the world; we have enough already. Every year millions of animals are euthanized because there are not enough people to adopt them.
The next consideration is the day to day expenses. Dogs must eat, but eating table scraps is not going to give them the nutrition their bodies need to remain healthy. Dogs need dog food and cats need cat food, just as human beings need human food. Then there are the dog treats, toys, dog beds, cat scratching posts (unless you want your couch to act in that role), cat sand, cat sand box, collars, leashes, and grooming tools. All of these things cost money, and they are not cheap.
Other considerations should be the family dynamic; are you a family of couch potatoes? Then a dog might not be the best choice as they need to be exercised every day (not just thrown into the back yard to chase their tail). Do you like to travel long distances? Some dogs don’t do too well in the car and might need to be left behind, which leads to another expense of boarding the animal. If you do not have friends or family that can take care of your pets while you are gone they will need to be left at a boarding house or kennel.
Owning a pet can be a great joy, but it is also an added responsibility. If people took this responsibility more seriously we would not have enormous amounts of animals being euthanized every year.