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Dog Days & Cat Naps
Dog Days & Cat Naps Offers Three Tips for Selecting a New Family Pet
As more and more parents choose to get pets for their children, local professional pet sitter Becky Eberly recommends families give careful consideration to choosing the best possible pet.
Demographic surveys of pet owners sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) show that families with children are more likely to own a cat, dog or other type of pet. With pet ownership at an all-time high and continuing to grow, many parents in northeast Florida are likely to welcome new pets into their homes this year.
While having a pet offers many positive benefits for children, Becky Eberly, owner of Dog Days & Cat Naps, encourages parents to choose wisely when selecting their family’s next pet.
Eberly recommends families consider the following questions before deciding on a new pet:
1. What type of pet is best for your family? While dogs and cats are still the most popular species, more households than ever before own small animals, reptiles and fish, according to 2013-2014 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey. For families with small children or very limited time to care for a pet, animals like hermit crabs, fish or even snails may be better options. Families with smaller living spaces should think carefully before bringing in a larger dog (or even a puppy) that would require room to exercise frequently. For these families, cats, cage pets or aquarium-based pets may be more ideal. Families with fenced-in backyards and/or ample time for walking and play are best suited for more active dogs. For families seeking a dog, retrievers, boxers and collies are often noted as ideal breeds for children.
2. What is your budget? Caring for a pet is a financial obligation, so it is important for families to consider how much they are able to invest when deciding on a new pet. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates the average costs a pet owner will incur within a year range from less than $300 for fish or small birds to more than $1,000 for dogs, cats and rabbits. These estimated costs include food, veterinary care and miscellaneous items like collars, leashes, litter boxes and crates. The age of the pet can also play a factor in anticipated expenses. For families with dogs, many find older dogs to be more “budget friendly” as they do not require the training and house-breaking items that puppies require. However, depending on the pet’s health, older dogs could also incur more veterinary expenses—so it’s important to consider the pet’s needs, age and health when budgeting.
3. Who will take care of the pet? Families with older children may be able to teach about pet care and responsibility by having the children take on tasks like cleaning the litter box or feeding the fish. Parents with small children who require a lot of attention may need to consider if they have the time to devote to a puppy or other pet that requires frequent exercise or care. For parents who work long hours or juggle multiple family responsibilities, easier-to-care-for pets like fish or reptiles may be the best options to offer their families the joys of pet ownership without the time commitment required for caring for other pets like dogs, cats or birds. Families with limited time can also benefit from the services of a professional pet-sitting service like Dog Days & Cat Naps. Professional pet sitters can offer a variety of pet-care services for parents working long hours or when the families travel out of town and are unable to take their pets.
“Pets bring such joy to families’ lives,” notes Eberly. “Considering your needs, budget and availability can ensure you select the perfect fuzzy, feathery or scaly new addition to your family.”
Dog Days & Cat Naps is a member of Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters. To learn more about Dog Days & Cat Naps, visit www.DogDaysCatNaps.com or call 904-241-7387. To learn more about PSI, visit www.petsit.com.