Maybe you have thought about getting your elderly parent a pet to keep her company and even give her purpose. Pets are a wonderful addition to any home, but unfortunately people often purchase a pet without researching all of facts about what owning that pet will really look like. As your parent’s caregiver, it’s important for you to do your upfront research before going out and helping your parent take that first step toward pet ownership. Otherwise, you could become the pet’s caregiver as well as your parent’s caregiver. There are pets that come with pitfalls that may make that relationship difficult, if not impossible to maintain.
Some pets are too expensive.
Initial cost aside, some pets have a high level of care they will need their entire lives, making it an ongoing expense. Some breeds of dogs are known to have specific health issues that require medication, or they may be prone to health issues that will require surgery later in life. Other pets have expensive food that will need to be purchased each month. Know the general cost of maintaining a healthy pet before you purchase one for your parent.
Some pets are health hazards.
Whether it’s a tiny cat that constantly provides a tripping hazard, a large dog that jumps on people, or even reptile that carries diseases on it, the last thing you want is a pet that’s going to injure your parent or cause her to become sick. Many people also have allergies to certain animals, so you’ll want to take that into consideration as well as you look for a pet for your parent.
Some pets are high maintenance.
Whether it’s constant shedding that needs to be swept up, cages that need to be continually cleaned out, or multiple walks a day that some breeds of dog need, make sure your parent is either up to the task or have someone reliable lined up to help manage the maintenance that come along with pet ownership. If you buy your parent a large saltwater tank for her to look at her favorite colorful fish, do you have a plan for keeping it clean? The good news is that for every high maintenance or breed of pet, there usually is a counterpart that isn’t high maintenance. Just do your research first.
Some pets sleep all day.
If you’re looking to provide a bit of companionship for your parent, make sure the pet you buy also wants companionship. There are cats that hide under the couch all day, only coming out for food. And if you’re looking for a smaller fuzzy pet, like a gerbil or hamster, keep in mind that they are nocturnal and will spend most of the day sleeping.
Some pets are noisy.
If your parent appreciates peace and quiet, buying a parakeet or other loud bird may not be a good choice. There are also certain breeds of dogs that bark at every noise they hear, all of the time. While you can help your parent train her new pet or build in sound protectors, knowing this beforehand will help you make a better choice.
One of the main reason’s pets are brought into shelters is that they do not fit into their owner’s routines or preferences. Help your parent do that needed research beforehand so neither the pet, nor your parent, has to suffer from the pain and heartbreak of giving away a pet that didn’t work out.