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New Year, New Pet, New Responsibility?By: Dr. Fiona CaldwellVet at Idaho Veterinary HospitalFor Pets Best InsuranceThe New Year is the perfect time for thewhole family to set goals and start fresh!Why not include a pet as a healthy part ofyour personal and family resolutions thisNew Year? Once you’ve decided a pet isright for you, you’ll want to look into petinsurance so you can keep your pethealthy too!Experts agree that families with pets are generally healthier and children seem to develop fewerallergies as they grow. Animals have proven stress reducing capabilities that even children canbenefit from. They provide companionship and they demand that you become more active,enforcing your family’s healthy New Year’s goals. But are you and your family ready for a pet?Here are some things to consider prior to selecting a new four-legged family member.Your Family’s LifestyleA Border Collie or other very intelligent, high energy breeds will not do well in a family thatlives in a condo with no yard and spends a lot of time away. One of the biggest mistakes I seedog owners make is selecting a dog that is too active for their lifestyle, and then they becomefrustrated when the dog is destructive or unruly due to boredom. If your pet does become unruly,pet health insurance companies like Pets Best Insurance offer limited reimbursement forbehavioral issues. But before adopting, you’ll want to take into account the needs andtemperaments of different breeds. And don’t forget cats! Cats can provide companionship and anelement of responsibility, but in general require less ‘work’ than dogs.Your Children’s AgesKids and animals have gone together long before Timmy and Lassie. If your family includeschildren, pets are a wonderful way to teach children responsibility, while providing a lifelongbond. However, consider their ages. A child less than 10 to 12 years old is likely too immature tobe able to handle all the responsibilities of caring for a dog, no matter how much they plead theircase. Understand that as an adult, you will invariably be required to supervise and enforce thecaretaking, and fill in where they lack. Be cautious about selecting ‘pocket pets’ such as reptiles,rodents and other ‘exotic’ animals, thinking they will be less work for your child. These animalscan often have very specific husbandry requirements and sometimes are more difficult to care forthan cats or dogs. Also, fewer pet insurance companies will cover these kinds of animals.Pet insurance plans are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company. SS-ART5-0212-IAIC/AICC
Your BudgetThis is really important; pet care can be really expensive when you consider not only food andtoys, but veterinary care, both preventative and sickness.The ASPCA estimates the average family spends about $1500 in the first year alone on a dogand about $1,000 on a cat. This doesn’t even include the possibility of your pet becoming ill orinjured and requiring emergency veterinary care. Strongly consider dog and cat insurance as away for your family to defray these costs. In my experience, families whose pets have petinsurance are more likely to receive top notch veterinary care, both preventative and sickness,than families who struggle to pay for necessary treatments.Keeping these guidelines in mind, the New Year is the perfect time to consider adding an animalto your family.The rewards of pet ownership far outweigh the ‘work’ and responsibility involvedin caring for them. Having animals is a wonderful part of childhood, teaching important lifelessons and providing companionship. Many adults fondly remember their first pet and theirreplaceable bond they shared. Happy New Year!Pet insurance plans are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company. SS-ART5-0212-IAIC/AICC