Citizen Speak

Here Are the Pros and Cons of Getting a Pet During the Pandemic

The pandemic has taken its tole on millions of people. When disaster strikes we tend to speak of it in human costs. Yet we humans are not the only ones effected. Animals also suffer in ways we seldom consider. We think about wildlife in the wake of something like wildfires. With something like a pandemic, the animals that suffer are a lot closer to home. Here are some things we should consider when it comes to our 4-legged family members:

Rescue Pets

When coronavirus struck, a lot of people became too ill to take care of their pets. As a result, those animals were taken into shelters, if they were lucky. Now, shelters are overflowing, and are looking to re-home those pets. Some shelters charge a fee to help cover the cost of housing and medically treating abandoned animals. Even if your shelter waves that fee, there are still costs associated with owning a pet.

Pets Are Not Free

There is always a cost associated with caring for a living creature. Rescue pets might have suffered ill-treatment and might have unaddressed medical issues. Pet insurance exists but is either expensive and covers a lot, or is affordable but covers little. Pet surgery can rival the cost of human surgery. Sticker-shock at the veterinarian clinic can be overwhelming.

Be sure that you are well-financed when you think about bringing a pet into your home. You are solely responsible for the cost of taking care of that pet. The few hundred dollars in your savings account may not be enough if your pet is sick or injured. Make sure you have options for a quick injection of cash.

Even when things don’t go horribly wrong, you might be surprised at how much pet food costs every month. It is as much as a power bill. Can you afford to pay a second power bill? Dog and cat toys are a part of the balance sheet. And don’t forget about the damage to furniture and other property. If you have carpet, be prepared to have regular carpet cleaning professionally done. For dogs, there is also grooming that should happen every 4 to 6 weeks. That bill can also go north of $100. Count the costs before diving into that commitment.

Worth It

Pet ownership is expensive, but worth it. For many, the benefits of pet ownership will always far outweigh the negatives. The benefits are not exclusive to mental health. Research shows dog owners also get an increase to their physical health. According to the Cal Alumni Association:

All of these advantages—being less lonely, less stressed and anxious, and more connected to others—also tend to make us healthier. And there is direct evidence that dog owners experience a variety of health benefits.

One of those health benefits we can all appreciate is a longer and healthier life. Sure, pet ownership has a cost. But the benefits are more than worth it in the end.

That said, Pet ownership is not right for everyone. Owning a pet can restrict your rental choices when it comes to finding a place to live. Apartments and houses that allow pets are almost always more expensive options than the place where no pets are allowed.

Additionally, the places that allow pets almost always have extra deposits and fees. Some even require a monthly pet rent that can add $75 to $100 per month to your already inflated rent payment.

Right now, there is a real need for people to step up and take on a rescue animal. Just be sure to count the cost.