Tag Archives: family pets

How Healthy is Your Pudgy Puppy?

With all of the attention the single mom gives to a nutritious diet for the family, we don’t always realize that the family pet needs the same consideration. It takes more effort to raise a healthy pet than making sure he has fresh water and gets fed every day. Just as health problems arise when our kids are not healthy eaters, a pet who is allowed to become overweight faces medical risks that can lead to illnesses and even a shorter life span.

Pet food usually has suggestions on the feeding of your pet printed on the package. The proportions are geared to the amount to feed a healthy, active pet. If your four footed family member isn’t getting enough exercise on a daily basis, the recommended feeding guidelines may cause the animal to gain weight. It may make the little darling look adorable, but it can be endangering his health.

Different breeds of dogs have different needs on the types of exercise they can undergo. While a large dog will enjoy accompanying you and your family on a long walk in the early evening, a tinier breed of dog will tire quickly as his short legs try to keep up with your stride. If he becomes tired, you will end up carrying him home.

Dog breeds that are high energy, like terriers and Chihuahuas will use up their energy quickly as they try to keep up. Dogs that have been bred to perform certain functions to help their owners will continue with their tasks even when they are exhausted. For example, Labs and spaniels were bred to swim. You will have to pay attention if you take them to a lake for their exercise, and at any signs that they are becoming tired you will have to call them in. They probably won’t return to you on their own, no matter how tired they become.

Once you have your pet on a regular exercise routine you have a better understanding on how much to feed them each day. Now is the time to recognize how many treats the family pet consumes. Many pet owners reward their dogs with treats. Like with kids, there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but you have to keep track of how many the animal gets during the day.

Some dogs and cats will beg for a treat when you come home after an extended absence. Some are accustomed to getting a reward each time they return from the yard. Many families reward their pets by serving them the table scraps, and it seems almost every family has a child who has learned that their dinner will be finished sooner with the help of the dog who sits beside his chair at every meal, looking at him with those large begging eyes.

Guests, too, often offer a tempting treat if the pet is allowed to be near the table while the humans are dining. When you add up all of the snacking you pet may be doing throughout the week you will quickly get an understanding on why he seems to be putting on the pounds.

You wouldn’t give your kids free access to the cookie jar. The same restrictions should be put on a family pet.

Medical Costs for the Family Pet

Healthcare is expensive. There is a wide debate going on in the country about the best ways to go about making sure that people can receive affordable medical care for themselves and their families when it is needed. Even families with employer provided medical care insurance often struggle to meet the premium cost and the deductible and co payments required. Have you given a thought to how to pay for healthcare needs of your pet?

As we make our plans to bring a pet into the family, we often forget that it will depend on us to provide medical attention when needed. As we determine whether or not we can afford a pet, we budget for food, pet treats, grooming, vaccinations, spaying or neutering and routine yearly checkups. Few of us ever take into consideration that our new companion will become ill or need emergency surgery, just like any other member of the family.

The American Pet Products Association surveys pet owners in the US and found that pet dogs average three vet visits a year while cats were brought in an average of 2.4 times.

A staggering 12.2 billion dollars is expected to be paid out this year as pet owner seek out veterinary services to keep their animal friends happy. Of course, this number includes horses that can be quite expensive if they need medical attention. But even pet birds can run up a surgical bill of several hundred dollars. The average feline surgery cost about $410 in 2010.

It’s estimated that pet owners will spend an average of about $11,000 on pet needs during its lifetime. A single mom who is contemplating adopting a pet has to do some serious thinking about the financial responsibility she is adding to the family needs.

It’s hard to put a financial value on a pet. They give love, loyalty and companionship. A pet can also relieve stress. Even a fish in a bowl has a calming effect on the person who takes the time to watch it swim.

Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Before bringing a pet into the home, make sure that you are willing to take on the commitment of not only day to day care, but for unexpected emergencies.

Pets Don’t Live Forever

A family pet can mean companionship and love. A home with both children and pets can be a rewarding experience for the single mom as she sees the bonds grow between her child and the animal. The child learns responsibility while caring for the well chosen pet, and it seems to be a winning proposition for all.

We don’t tend to enter relationships thinking about death, but in some cases discussing the eventuality just makes sense. Some types of pets have longer life spans than others. While many dogs and cats may be around for over a decade, pets like goldfish and hamsters have a shorter life expectancy. If the child does not understand and accept death, the loss of a beloved pet may be devastating and confusing.

During the process of choosing the ideal pet to bring into the home, the life expectancy of the potential additions should be discussed at some point. It should be done in a matter of fact manner. The short life expectancy of a goldfish doesn’t mean that it is not the best fit with your family. There is no guarantee on the duration of the life of any living thing, after all.

If and when a pet dies, break the news to your family gently, as you would break any other bad news. Be understanding of the child’s grief, and try to answer questions in a way the child understands. Don’t minimize the child’s sense of loss by playing down the importance of the loss of the life. The pet wasn’t “just a hamster”; it was an important part of the home. Bonds are made with pets, no matter if the pet lives in a cage, a bowl of water, or has the run of the house.

Don’t lie to the child. Sooner or later, he will come to realize that his beloved dog or cat didn’t move to the farm. Telling the child that the pet ran away is not a good option, either, as the child may think that it means that the pet was unhappy living in your home. The child may also hold onto the hope that the pet will somehow find his way back home.

If your child has never experienced death of a loved one before, he may become frightened that others that he loves will be taken away from him. Let him voice his fears and respond to his questions with patience. Let the child share his own feelings of grief so that he knows that what he is feeling is normal.

If there are other pets in the home, keep in mind that animals, too, can recognize a loss. Watch out for any changes in behavior from them as well.