You may be considering giving a lucky dog or cat a forever home this Christmas. While giving someone one or more unexpected pets for Christmas isn’t recommended, how about gifting yourself one? What are the pros and cons of having a pet when you’re living with disability?
While there are many emotional and even physical benefits to having a pet, they’re also a long term responsibility. Dogs and cats need care and attention, plus there are financial costs involved. Read our guide below to make sure you’ve considered all the factors of getting a pet for Christmas.
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Pets for Christmas: The Cons
Let’s get the drawbacks to getting a pet for Christmas out of the way, first. Many first time pet parents picture evening cuddles on the couch and a welcoming committee every time they open the door. However, there are some elements of pet ownership that may come as an adjustment.
It’s not just a pet for Christmas, it’s long-term
The average dog has a lifespan of 10 to 13 years, while cats have an average lifespan of 12 to 18 years. A cute little puppy or kitten may seem like a novel idea … for a few months. Then they grow up and need lots of care and love for well over a decade.
Pets need forever homes. So, they shouldn’t be bought or adopted just to be surrendered a few months later. Are you sure you or your pet present recipient’s lifestyle and home setup can accommodate a pet for their lifespan?
Pets costs money
Food, medications, kennel costs, toys, grooming, and other essentials. There are various expenses that come with owning a new dog or cat. Some of them aren’t direct, either. Consider, for instance, that having a pet could lead you to change travel plans or book more expensive pet friendly accessible accommodation to sleep them.
Research by PD Pet Insurance shows that 27% of pet parents spend $1,000 to 2,500 a year on their pets, excluding vet bills. $500-1,000 (26%) is next, then less than $500 (24%). 18% spend $2,500-$5,000 every year outside vet bills.
A pet for Christmas may not seem like it costs that much then, but these costs add up!
Pets for Christmas vs your physical needs
Dogs and cats need adequate care and attention to thrive. One of the biggest cons in the pros and cons of having a pet is that their basic needs also may require physical exertion from your side. Apart from being given good food and water each day, some dogs require training and regular exercise. Cats are arguably less demanding, but still need someone to feed them and clean their litter box.
Are you physically able to provide to their needs? If you live with disability, you may want to look at how much exercise a dog needs before deciding on getting on. Remember that there are low maintenance pets for people with limited mobility, so even if you’re living with disability, there may still be breed out there for you.
Your lifestyle and household may not be suitable
Do you share your home with others? Have limited garden space? Already own pets? All these factors could influence whether you can get one or more pets for Christmas.
If you have a lifestyle where you’re gone for long periods of time, getting a dog might not be a good idea. Cats require less supervision, but need to be fed and given clean water daily. Read the ins and outs of leaving your cat home alone.
You may be allergic to cats or dogs and not know it until you get one. There are medications you can take for allergies, but you may have to stay on them for the duration of owning your pet. Make sure you’re able and willing to do so, and that they won’t interact with any medication you’re currently taking.
Pets for Christmas: The Pros
On the flip side, there are amazing benefits to owning a dog or cat. Some that you may not even know about. If your household, finances and lifestyle circumstances can accommodate a pet, there’s no reason you shouldn’t add the happy little addition to your life. They might just change it forever!
Here are the pros…
Mental and physical health are largely intertwined. Often something that improves your physical wellbeing will benefit your mental wellbeing, too. Dogs and cats help us engage with the world around us, both physically and mentally.
Animals are known to help reduce stress, which in turn helps us sleep better and can even prevent depression. Read more about the benefits of pets and mental health.
The emotional benefits of pet ownership have long been known. So, the next natural step was for science to look at how these impact us at a biological level. There are now a range of on-record physicals benefits to owning a pet. And unsurprisingly, it’s all good things.
Scientific findings show that pets can:
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce triglycerides
- Reduce cortisol
- Improve oxytocin
- Improved fitness
Read about the many physical benefits of having a dog or cat.
Pets for Christmas – Staves off loneliness
When it comes to the pros and cons of having a pet, this is probably the biggest pro. Pets are a friend for life and their presence can make us feel less lonely. Caring for them gives us a sense of purpose and joy.
One of the biggest issues people living with disability have is feeling lonely. Not only are you sometimes unable to join in on activities that those without disability can, but you may find it harder to relate to those who don’t understand your circumstances.
Our social worlds are often fuller as a result of a pet because their needs require we wake up/get out of bed on time. If we’re mobile, dogs may require us to get out of the house to walk them (even some cats can walk on a lead!). They can also enable us to make friends. Having pets in common with others can spark conversations with like-minded people.
All this is food for thought… which way will you go? Will you be grabbing that pet for Christmas or are you/your pet recipient not quite ready?
Insurance for your forever friend
If you’ve weighed up all the pros and cons of having a pet and made your decision to add a happy tail to your home, you’ll want to get them pet insurance. Blue Badge Insurance can give your therapy, assistance or companion animal a pet plan helps that helps cover costly medical procedures like surgery, medication, hospital stays and unexpected vet visits. Because pets for Christmas need long term care!
Did you know we offer up to 15% off pet insurance and up to 25% off Assistance Dogs insurance? Protect your pets the same way they protect you and enjoy the benefits of a great dog or cat insurance plan. Start by getting a quote – just click below.