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Pet Talk: "Selecting the Right Pet for You"

Written By Editor on 2/6/17 | 2/6/17

By Lorraine Fancher, LVT

... Farm Animals ...

Hello and welcome!. Did you know this month is National Responsible Pet Owner Month? For good reason too.

 According to APPA (American Pet Products Association) 65% of US households; an estimated 79.7 million families, own a pet. That 65% of households spent an estimated $62.75 billion dollars on pet products and services, with the predominance of it being spent on dogs and horses (dairy/beef cattle not counted in the survey) according to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association 2016). According to APPA, the volume of expenditure was spent on food and vet care. The unfortunate thing is in 2016, 7.6 million companion animal pets entered the shelter with only 35/37% of them being adopted out, the rest were euthanized or other (not described). This number isn’t taking into account the strays that are found and rescued. Twice as many strays entered shelters in addition to the relinquished pets last year. The American Humane Society states “the  main reasons for relinquishment of pets is; their place of residence doesn’t allow pets, not enough time, divorce, death, behavior issues, and allergies.These figures alone stress the importance of responsible pet ownership and the need to educate the community as this number will continue to grow.

Pet ownership is a privilege and like anything else; comes with responsibility. The most important decision you will make in being a responsible pet owner, is the proper selection (or not) of your pet. Deciding on and selecting a pet is an exciting process which generally involves a lot of emotion and research. Given the fact that many pets will be joining your family for 15 plus years, it’s vitally important to think about all the positive and negative consequences of owning a pet; not just now; but for years to come. It’s important to think about a 1 year, 5 year, 10 year plus plan. Sounds ridiculous, right? But it’s not. Let’s say you pick out a horse for your 13 year old. You will need to plan out what things may be like at the age of 14, 18, 23, 28, etc. No, we cannot plan or predict our futures, however we can make the very best decision based on what our futures may be like. In this scenario; the horse will likely still be exciting to your 14 year old. At the age of 18 or before, your 18 year old has graduated, is driving, probably dating and has other interests now; maybe even college or moving. Is there time for a horse or are you, the parent, going to take over care? Is that something you would be willing to do if able? Now, the age of 23. If you/your child decided to keep taking care of the horse and you get to age 23, what now? The plans may involve continued college, a job, marriage, etc. Who knows. Are you ready to take on that continued care or the responsibility of finding a caring owner for the horse’s remaining life? Now, what if instead, you chose a hamster to give to your 13 year old? Their average lifespan is 3-5 years, which at the very latest, gets you to the age of 18. It’s a pocket pet and easy to transport or even care for. So, the moral of the story is to choose wisely and consider all factors. Some of the factors to take into consideration are; living environment, family dynamics (health, age, children), financial status (even if someone gets sick), accessibility to veterinary care/products, and desired pet’s lifespan, care and continued maintenance. A pet becomes an integral part of the family and rightly so. Please take the time to choose wisely. Please share any questions or stories to  
Lorraine Fancher, LVT

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