Pet-Picking Pointers for People in Recovery
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“The moment a pet realizes he is yours and you are his, you become instant partners without hesitation. He will be by your side the moment you need him, and always give you the benefit of the doubt.” That endorsement from Drugrehab.org says it all. Plus, having the love and trust of such a faithful companion can give you the confidence you need to tackle any goal you set for yourself, including recovery from substance abuse or mental health issues.
That being said, we should stress that pet ownership is a two-way street. You have a duty to choose your animal companion wisely and to make sure you can provide proper care for him.
In this post, we'll look at what you need to know before making this life-changing commitment.
Ask the Right Questions
The road to happy pet parenting begins with asking yourself important questions like:
"What kind of pet will match my income/interests/surroundings?" Companion animals differ like night and day when it comes to their care needs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. For example, dogs draw their security from group dynamics. They need companionship to avoid becoming lonely and afraid. Reptiles and fish are on the opposite end of the personality spectrum. They couldn’t care less if you pay them any attention as long as you feed them. On the other hand, they may have exotic diets and can need heat rocks, warming lamps and other expensive equipment to replicate their native environment.
"What kind of pet will match my lifestyle?" People who travel often or who work long hours may have to give the selection process a little extra thought. Do you know someone who can care for your pet when you're away? Will your animal companion miss you during your absences? What about unexpected emergencies that require last-minute improvisation? Will your pet be alright during such times?
"What kind of pet will meet my companionship needs?" This question may sound selfish on its surface. In reality, though, it's one of the most important factors to consider. Pet ownership isn't just a purchase; it's a relationship between living beings. Both you and your companion animal will be better off if you choose a pet that matches your personality, temperament, and lifestyle, according to Pet MD.
Check Your Resources
Whichever pet you choose will require food, a suitable habitat, and access to veterinary care.
So check your local area for these resources. Remember that vet bills can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the ailment and the animal. Not all vets are the same. Some focus on treating farm animals while others work exclusively with cats and dogs. Some are certified to work on birds, others on reptiles and fish. Check with your local clinics as to what types of critters they care for.
What about food?
Choosing the right diet for your pet is a complex topic, one which is well beyond the scope of this post. Here are some general tips:
Price is no guarantee of real-world benefits. Pet care is a huge and lucrative sector of the American economy. Companies design and market their products with this in mind.
You might want to go the DIY route. You can find recipes online for wholesome, nutritious pet food. Many of these options cost less to prepare than buying the expensive name brand stuff.
Some people foods are on the "no way, never" list for pets, according to the ASPCA. These include alcohol, chocolate, avocados, and anything containing caffeine.
If in doubt, then ask your vet. Your pet's health is too important to leave to chance or hearsay.
Welcoming a pet into your home can open the door to some of life's most enriching experiences. Not to mention that a companion animal can provide the unconditional love and support you need on your recovery journey. So do your homework first, then prepare to have your heart happily stolen by your new best friend.