Pros and Cons of adopting a Pet


Most all of us, at one time or another, have enjoyed the ownership of a pet. We may have grown up in a household where pets were just a regular part of everyday living.

The family had a big dog, because dad liked big dogs. Big dogs scared away trespassers and kept things safe. Sometimes, when we were little, a big dog scared us, and we couldn’t play with him because he might hurt us.

Bernese- a big dog

Now, if there was a girl in the family, she wanted a kitten, because kittens were cute and lovable. As the kitten grew into a cat, she learned how to torment the dog. This usually caused a lot of barking and yowling, which may have led to Mom’s favorite vase getting broken.

Time passed. The dog and the cat grew older and slept most of the time. The kids grew up and eventually moved into places of their own. Mom and dad settled into a lifestyle of their own. Some traveling, new hobbies and perhaps a little too much time on their hands.

The couple, who has by now reached the brink of becoming senior citizens, have decided to adopt a pet. But what breed? a cat or a dog? A kitten or a pup? An older animal that was already housebroken? Where to get a pet? Pet store? Humane Society? Animal shelter?

cat and owner

What Kind of Pet to Adopt–What Species? What to consider?

Most likely, without a big argument, the empty nest couple has a cat or a dog in mind. Cats are naturally small creatures, so if a person or a couple is not into walking, hiking, playing sports–they will decide on a small dog or a cat.

Cats normally weigh between 6 and 10 lbs and are short hair or long hair. Long haired cats are beautiful, but there is a lot of brushing to do to keep their coats from matting. Both short and long hairs shed.

If a sweet, playful pet is the goal, a female cat must be spayed, and a male cat must be neutered between 6 and 8 months old. After that, good food, a litter box, and a yearly checkup at the vet is your obligation in return for a healthy, happy playmate.

For those into walking, hiking or some sports may prefer a dog. Dogs like to take walks or hikes and a good run once in a while. Even small or medium-sized dogs are good for a brisk walk at least once a day. Older folks who have

Good exercise

trouble lifting items over 25 to 35 lbs. should consider small to medium size dogs.

Some choices include Beagle, Brittany. Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Bull dog, Welsh Corgi. These breeds are always ready for a good walk or a run. They have good dispositions and are easy to train. These dogs weigh mostly around 30 to 35 lbs.

There is an abundance of small dogs for people who are not into running or hiking. Dachshund, Terriers, Pomeranian, French Bull Dog, Boston Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Maltese, and more. But there are more questions to answer before a final decision is made.

Puppies are cute but need a lot of training. Adult dogs know how to live with humans, purebreds cost a lot of money, but mixed breeds and shelter dogs will be so grateful for a second chance. Female dogs must be spayed to slow reproduction of unwanted litters.

When all decisions have been made, then its good food, a doggie bed, a good leash, a yearly visit to the vet and lots of love.

What is a pet’s average life span?

One thing that many would be pet owners fail to consider is the length of time a pet will be dependent upon human care.

Better food, better vet care have increased the life span of our companion animals.

It’s not unusual for a mixed breed cat to live anywhere from 14 to

18 years. Even mixed breed dogs can live to 14. Human life spans are increasing with better food choices, regular exercise and better medicines. The same holds true for pets.

Small breed dogs live longer than large dogs. Small dogs with good care can make it to the grand old age of 20.

For young For young families, employment may demand several moves over the years. For older people owning a pet far unto their elderly years can be a real burden both physically and monetarily.

The question is, how do you care for a pet when you’re moving the whole household every few years? The other question is, how do you care for a pet when your income is slowly decreasing or you are no longer able to drive?

Should Seniors adopt senior Pets?

That is a question that can be answered both yes and no. It all depends on circumstances. I, for one always gravitate toward older pets. I do not like to train kitties to find the litter box when the urge “to go” hits them. Neither do I like to take puppy out after every meal until he/she gets the idea of what to do.

Older dogs and cats that have lived in a people household have learned how to act and get along around people. They are so happy to have a second chance in a new home and with people who will love them and take care of them.

As long as seniors have a good income and a car that is reliable, having senior pets is fine.

However, some older pets develop problems that necessitate trips to the vet as often as every 3 months and medicine that must be administered several times a day.

Trips to the vet and daily medications can be very expensive. If an older couple no longer has a car, it becomes difficult to maintain the proper care for a pet.

Many seniors just simply do not have the resources to care for an older pet.

Is it ever a good idea to give a pet for Christmas?

The short answer is NO.

A doggie for Christmas?


The long answer is yes with reservations. If someone you know well has expressed a real desire to have a pet, what kind of pet, how old a pet, and normally spends Christmas quietly, then it may be OK.

But if they have, in passing, expressed a notion that maybe, someday they will get a pet, then do not get them a pet for Christmas. Never surprise a child with a pet for Christmas.

In the first place, Christmas day is full of activity, noise, and lots of talking. A strange place, a busy place, will panic a cat or a dog. A cat will find a hiding place and will not come out until all the commotion is over. The dog will panic and may pee all over the place.

The child is not impressed with the animal. When all He has toys to play with that will cooperate. Mom and dad are really dismayed and don’t know what to do. Besides, one of the relatives is allergic to animal dander and is sneezing nonstop.

Odds are that the animal is back in the shelter, or Humane society, or worse, abandoned somewhere. Plus, you’ve lost a friend.

If you know that someone would really like a pet, plan the time, take them to a couple of places to see if they might find a pet that is just right for them. You both can experience the joy when your friend picks out that special companion. She will thank you forever.

Wrap up

There is a lot to think about when you decide to adopt a pet into the family. Make sure everybody is ready to add a pet into the family mix. Make sure everybody is ok with the species. Remember that your pet will need food and water every day.

If you get a dog, it will need training. Many pet stores offer training classes. Don’t skip training for your dog. You both will be happier for the time spent.

Dogs will bond with one member of the family more than others. That person is the alpha dog and the alpha dog is the leader of the pack.

Finally, remember that a pet is like adding another member to the family. You can’t just throw it in the garbage when you get tired of it. Also remember that your pet is an animal, it follows instincts. They depend upon you for life itself. Reward them with true long term love and care, Be sure you’ re in this relationship for the long term.

I’m Barb Nelson and I love to hear from my readers. Let me know what you think. My next article will be on abandoned pets. Something that happens all too often and is probably the cruelest act a human being can do to an innocent animal.

4 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of adopting a Pet”

  1. What a great article about many different levels of pet adoption!  From the best pet for older adults to my favorite no-no of giving a pet for Christmas.  I noticed you advised or recommended a smaller pet for seniors – what kind of a pet do you recommend a young family?  Does it matter if you live in the city or in the suburbs?

    1. Hello Daniel, A pet for a young family can be any breed, or size, as long as everybody agrees. Pay attention to the pet’s disposition. One of the best breed of dog for a family is the Brittany. Mild mannered, good with kids, medium sized. Big dogs–Retrievers. Cats–whatever suits- keep them indoors.  Only difference between city and suburbs is space–for that reason, a smaller dog is better for city.

  2. Great article with some good information. I have many pets but have never rescued or adopted one, I can see some advantages now after reading your article. My last pet was a mini bull terrier and boy did she take some work when she was a pup, a great dog now but I can see the advantage of adopting a more senior dog now for sure.

    1. Hello Crypto Dave, The best way to decide on a pet–age, size, breed–is to look at your own lifestyle. Try to match the pet with your own way of life. Let’s face it, a pet takes time and money. Your pet should be  welcome participant in your life.

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