Pet ownership has risen from 56% to 68% of all households in the last thirty years, the American Pet Products Association reports. The main reason for this explosive growth? Millennial and Generation Z consumers are embracing pet-ownership and everything that comes with it — much more than the generations before them. But, living with a companion animal has benefits for anyone of any age. It boosts mental and emotional health, helps you meet new people, and keeps you in good physical shape. Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about choosing a pet.
Are you ready for one?
Dogs need a lot of love, attention, and, of course, walking. If you and your family are out for most of the day, lower-maintenance pets like fish or reptiles may be a better choice. Animals like hamsters and guinea pigs also need plenty of companionship. Cats, however, may be okay with more alone time. You also need to be financially ready. Americans spend an average of $126.19 every month on their pets, according to a recent survey of over 1,000 pet owners. It’s important you can pay for regular vet bills, food, treats, and toys to keep your pet well-fed and happy and healthy.
When it comes to dogs, there’s a breed to suit mostly anyone. Labradors are boisterous as puppies and laidback as adults — they’re a great breed for children. Terriers are lively and love walks and playtime. Be warned, however, small dogs can be prone to barking. Cats, on the other hand, are independent animals; some spend hours exploring outside, while others prefer to stay indoors. Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, so may not be the best choice for kids who want to play with them during the day. It’s always a good idea to carefully research the personalities of the pets you’re considering as well as visit the animal before you decide to adopt or buy.
What about allergies?
Roughly 10% of Americans are allergic to household pets with cat allergies being twice as common as dog allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. If you or anyone in your family is allergic to cats or dogs, it’s best not to get one. You won’t be able to show your pet the love he needs if you’re sneezing and coughing all the time. People with dog allergies, however, may not experience symptoms around breeds with non-shedding coats like schnauzers, poodles, soft-coated wheaten terriers, and labradoodles.
Always do your research and take your time when deciding on the right pet. You need to be sure your animal of choice fits in with both your lifestyle and budget. Once you find the perfect pet, you won’t be able to imagine your life without them.
Cassidy Oliver is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for animals. With several pets of her own, she spends all her time enjoying her animals when not at work.