There’s no question about the benefits that come with owning a pet. Your dad gains a companion. He has a friend with him 24/7. He may become more active, which is always a good thing. The chances of your dad becoming depressed or lonely are lowered when he has a pet.
With pet ownership, however, there are responsibilities. Here are five things your dad needs to be able to do before adopting a cat or dog.
1. Pay for Vet Care.
Yearly vet exams aren’t cheap. Vaccinations for rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and other illnesses are necessary. He’ll likely spend a couple hundred dollars each year on routine veterinary care. Emergency care is more expensive. If your dad is on a fixed income and can’t afford to have his dog or cat treated, adopting a pet may not be ideal.
Pet insurance can be a way to adopt a pet and afford veterinary care. It does require your dad to pay a monthly premium, but the savings on vet bills may be worth it.
2. Feed on a Timely Schedule.
Pets need food each day and fresh water at all times. Can your dad remember to feed his dog or cat in the morning and again at night? Will he remember where the pet food is stored? Is he likely to forget that onions are toxic to dogs? All of this needs to be considered.
3. Ensure the Pet Gets Exercise.
Dogs need to go for daily walks. If your dad cannot walk around the yard or down the street, a cat may be a better choice. Cats will still be active and want to climb and run around. Make sure your dad is able to meet a pet’s needs for activity.
4. Clean Up Messes.
Can your dad bend over to clean up a mess left by a pet? Can he squat down to clean and refill a litter box? If a dog accidentally urinates on the floor, will your dad notice and clean it up or is it likely to set in and become an odor problem?
5. Invest Time in Training.
Any pet needs some training. Cats need to be taught that scratching furniture, door frames, and carpeting is not acceptable. Dogs need to learn basic manners. If your dad can invest in training, great. If not, can he afford to have a trainer come in and work with his pet? Do you have the time to help him?
Carefully weigh the pros and cons of pet ownership with your dad’s abilities. This can help you narrow down the best pet for your dad to adopt.
You might be able to enlist the help of a caregiver. Home care professionals can join your dad on walks to make sure the dog gets enough exercise. Call a home care agency to learn more about the ways caregivers can help your dad age at home.