We’ve spent the last couple of months writing about the wonderful benefits pets offer to us in our golden years, including activities for you and your dog, as well as the best places to find that perfect pet.
We thought we’d wrap things up with perhaps the most important question of all: What is the perfect pet for you? There are distinct differences in the time, care, and expense of any and all pets. To keep things simple, we’ve chosen the two most popular pets: Cats and Dogs.
We’ll go through the good, the bad, and the ugly with you of each pet. After reading this, you’ll know what pet is most suited for your personality and lifestyle.
Puppies are adorable. They are silly, sweet, and melt the hearts of millions. They are also highly impressionable and trainable. If you decide to get a puppy, making sure you are fully-equipped to train your puppy properly is key. Dogs are a bit like kids: They must have proper guidance and/or training as they grow.
Puppies need to be housebroken. They pee and poo anywhere they want. Make sure to set aside lots of time for training, as it will pay off in the end. Here is a great indoor training tool: Potty Pads. These pads are scented to get dogs to learn to potty on them. They are absorbent so you won’t have to deal with a lot of mess.
Adopting an older pet can be a great investment, and they require much less work in training as many come already trained.
Puppies will chew on anything and everything. Your shoes, among other beloved items, will likely be their chew toy of choice. Luckily, there are literally hundreds of sale and affordable chew toys for puppies, ranging from large pieces of rope to rubber bones, and everything in between.
When the doorbell rings, expect some barking. Mailman comes to the door, it’s the highlight of your dog’s day as it’s “game on.” Barking, while annoying to most humans, is a dog’s most natural instinct so it’s very hard to snuff out. Check out these helpful tips to control barking from celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan.
Dogs like to dig. My dog, Maggie, is pretty much convinced that she wants to visit China, and if she digs long and hard enough she will eventually reach it. If you have a nice garden, lawn, etc., you’ll have to train your dog to dig in appropriate areas only.
Dogs are a lot like little kids. They enjoy rolling in the dirt and don’t seem one bit bothered when their coat is dirty or messy. So it’s up to you and I to ensure they are well kept. Also, should you choose a long haired dog be prepared for dog hair throughout your house, and constant trips to your local pet groomer for haircuts.
Dogs need attention – LOTS (this can be a PRO as well). One of the most adorable, and sometimes maddening, things about my dog is playing fetch with her. I will spend hours throwing the same ball to the same spot of the yard and she will act like she’s never seen it before. They want to be near you, and demand your attention at all times.
Dog food and medical care are generally expensive. Much like our human food, food for dogs come in all types of quality. You can certainly find high quality food online or at most pet stores, but be prepared to spend a bit. Also, trips to the vet tend to run higher for dogs than cats.
You may want to check out dog insurance, preferably when they are a puppy. It may be worth it. You pay a nominal fee each month, and they will cover you for bigger medical expenses that may come down the line.
Your dog will always love you, no matter what. If dogs could talk, they’d probably be saying this most of the time: “I love you, I love you. I love you!” Your dog may be driving you a bit crazy. So you’ll send it out back, scold the dog, and as soon as you decide to let your little pooch back in, that tail is wagging and all is forgiven. They live for you.
Constant 24/7 Cuteness
There’s something fun about watching your dog sleep and dream and move their paws, and wondering what in the world they could be dreaming of. My guess with my dog is chasing a ball, or a squirrel, her favorite things. It’s adorable. Every time that they look up at you with big their puppy dog eyes and adorable whiskered-smile, you can’t help but feel good inside.
In a previous piece, we covered how all the different benefits pets can provide in terms of health in neat infographic. Check it out here.
Dogs are always happy. There is almost nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and having your pooch jump up and down with excitement at seeing you. You get covered with slobbery kisses the moment you walk in the door. It’s like your own personal welcome home party.
Dogs are great companions. We’ve talked about this before, dogs are truly your best friend. For all the cons listed above, pets provide an opportunity for you to give love and attention, take pride in that training and raising your pet, enjoy all the love you’ll receive from them.
In a previous blog here, we detailed some great outdoor activities for you and your dog.
If you do decide that a dog is right for you, there are plenty of resources out there to help you with everything from training to feeding to proper care. We recommend visiting the ASPCA’s website.
Now onto cats!
Furry, fuzzy, warm, cuddly and independent are just a few words to describe cats.
Ahh, the dreaded litter box. There is perhaps no chore worse then the dreaded litter box change. Sure, there are all kinds of gadgets and accessories that are supposed to make it easier, but none of them are perfect. There’s no easy solution for this.
Cats shed everywhere. Unless you go for a completely hairless breed of cat, almost everything you own and will ever wear again will be covered in cat hair. Sadly, no lint roller ever gets all the hair off. Believe me, I’ve tried. Here’s a great piece from Grandparents.com on how to remove pet hair from your home.
Cats need to exercise their claws, which they sometimes do on your furniture, curtains or carpets. You can get a scratching post, but it’s 50-50 if the cat will use it.
Caring for a cat isn’t all that difficult, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into. The Humane Society has a great guide to cat care essentials, which you can find here.
Almost no maintenance
Cats are easy. They don’t require a lot of attention, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time training them or playing with them. Unlike dogs, you can leave them at home for a day or more when you travel without asking someone to come over and feed and play with them. They’re pretty much fine on their own for a bit.
One thing to keep in mind (this can be a con): From a cat’s perspective, it’s their world and you’re just living in it. It’s actually kind of funny.
They love love. While cats are great at playing it cool, most cats are affectionate. They thrive on attention and affection. Plus, there’s nothing more cuddly than a kitty curled on your lap while you’re watching a show or reading a book.
Cats don’t need much space. They’re great for apartments or condos. Cats don’t usually need a lot of room, unlike dogs. They’ll find their little spots in your living space and make it their own, whether that be in your laundry hamper or on your lap.
Did you know? Stroking a pet can help ease stress and lower blood pressure. Get all the facts here.
No walking necessary
Not only do cats not need walks, they despise them! If you have a cat and start them off as an indoor cat, chances are they will never try to venture out. If you have an outdoor cat, they’ll be taking their own walks, usually late at night.
As we began our blog with dogs, it’s only fair that cats get the final word in here. Here is a fairly biased article by Animal Planet on why cats are better than dogs.
Ultimately, while cats and dogs differ greatly, no one can deny that both offer wonderful companionship. Tell us your thoughts on whether dogs rule and cats drool at Bay Alarm Medical’s Facebook page.