No pets? No problem!
5 reasons to consider not adopting a dog or cat and 5 ways you can still get the benefits of being around animals.
It seems odd that you’d be reading this blog on the KONG website of all places, right? Well, sort of right. We at KONG know the commitment it takes to have pets in our lives, and we will take any opportunity we can to share what we know.
If you’ve been debating adopting a pet, we’ve got a list of things to consider before you commit and ways you can still get those crucial hits of dopamine and serotonin which you get from interacting with animals.
5 Reasons Not To Adopt A Pet
1. Pets are expensive Here is a list of some of the main expenses and how often you might have to shell out cash for your pet:
- Adoption Fee – A one-time fee that most likely includes spay/neuter, a round of vaccinations, and a city pet license. It’s best to check with the shelter or rescue group you are adopting from to see what is included and add those extras to this one-time expense. If you are considering a specific breed of pet, you will most likely pay more for a breeder’s experience & expertise. If possible, you might consider finding breed-specific rescue groups.
- Recurring & booster shots – Every 1-3 years for rabies, distemper, parvo & canine hepatitis. Before you adopt, it’s a good idea to call a few veterinarian offices to find out which booster your pet needs, how often, and how much it costs, then compare the prices.
- Food – Every 3-6 weeks, depending on the size of the bag, quality & the appropriate portion size for your future dog.
- Vet visits– At least once per year, but you should also factor in 1-2 emergency visits per year, just in case. The older your pet is, the more money you want to set aside for vet visits.
- Medications & supplements – We’d all like to think our pets won’t need them, but pets are living, breathing beings, so there’s always the chance that they will need to add some sort of medication to their daily regimen. Some examples of common medications and supplements are digestive support, hip & joint, and skin & coat supplements, as well as heartworm prevention. If you live in a warmer, humid climate, you will also need to factor in flea & tick prevention on a monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual basis, depending on the brand.
- Boarding, pet sitting, or walking services – Depending on different lifestyles and schedules, our pets can’t always come with us everywhere we go, and sometimes there are situations where we have to be away from them unexpectedly. Find a reputable, local boarding facility or check online walking and sitting services for general pricing. Boarding facilities may charge additional fees for extra play or walking time, so make sure to ask about add-on services.
- Odds & ends – Every week. Ok, maybe not, but at least monthly you will need something: collars & leashes, dog beds, cat towers, toys, treats, and more. Trust us, once you have a pet, you will disturb your phone’s algorithm and start to see things you didn’t know existed and you now can’t live without. On a serious note, we consider toys a must-have because if your dog does not have a form of enrichment, it could cause them anxiety & distress, creating destructive behaviors, like chewing and digging.
2. Travel If you travel often for work or simply love to see the world, you may want to reconsider adopting a pet. Time away from them breaks their daily routine, which can cause your pet anxiety. You’ll also need to find a place for them to stay, whether it is a boarding facility, a pet sitter, or a family member. If it’s a family member, you’ll want to have a conversation about how often they are willing to pet sit before you commit to adopting. While we are seeing an increase of traveling pets on social media, it’s not always as easy as it looks, and you should also consider other countries’ vaccine and record requirements, where pets are and aren’t allowed, and consider the ease of walking, playing, pottying and fitting into tight travel spaces (airplane, bus, driving service, etc.)
3. Work schedule If you work long hours or nighttime hours, it might be more difficult to live with a pet, especially a dog. If you live in an apartment or other type of community living, it may cause concern if you and your pup are up playing late at night while others are sleeping. If you have long hours or a lot of unplanned projects at work, your dog or cat’s exercise routine may suffer, which may cause them to become anxious, destructive, or depressed.
4. Not all members of your household want a pet You might live with a family or roommates who, for their own reasons, do not want the responsibility of living with a pet. While you can promise to take care of the animal, the animal will inevitably go into rooms and places in the house where it may not be welcome, or it may have habits that could affect others in your household negatively.
5. All pets are not created equally If you recently had a pet cross over the rainbow bridge, had a family pet you remember fondly from childhood, have had your eye on a specific breed for a while, or had a specific breed as a family pet throughout your childhood, you may be considering getting a dog “just like that one”. This is a good time to consider that all dogs and cats are different. No two are the same. Many people want to clone a pet they used to have or have seen other people with, and we want you to know that every animal has their own personality, their own quirks, traits, energy levels, and play styles. While there may be general similarities, it would be a mistake to think all that look alike act alike.
5 Ways You Can Get The Benefits of Being Around Animals Without Adopting
Now that we’ve given you a few reasons to possibly reconsider adopting a new pet, we hope we haven’t completely scared you away from pet parenting. Trust us, we want everyone to experience the true joy pets bring to our lives and we want all pets to have good homes. Yet, if the time just isn’t right for you, there are still ways you can incorporate pets into your life, and ways animals can benefit from being around you!
1. Volunteer at a shelter Volunteering comes in different sizes of commitments and there is surely one size that suits you. Considering the amount of time each week you might be spending with a full-time pet, you will have plenty of time to volunteer at a shelter. Whether it’s one hour per week walking dogs, cleaning kennels or horse stalls, reading to cats in the cat room, or taking a dog for an overnight stay at your house, you’ll spend much less time and money by volunteering at a local shelter.
2. Foster a pet Reach out to a rescue group or local shelter to find out more about fostering a dog, cat, or even a small animal like a hamster, rabbit, or bird. Yes, fostering is hard when it comes time to give the animal to their new family, but fostering is one of the most special gifts you can give. It is the biggest stepping stone to that animal’s new life. Some fun ideas and benefits of having a foster pet are:
- You can create a social media page dedicated to your foster pet(s) to help spread the word and find them a new home
- Take them to adoption events and fundraisers
- Meet other foster parents through volunteer meetups
- Take a break when you need time for other things like rest, travel, family, or work
- Medical bills and medications are often covered by the shelter or rescue group for foster pets
3. Go to the zoo No, you don’t need to be around dogs or cats to get the same benefits for your mental health. An afternoon at the zoo walking through exhibits can give you a serotonin boost and calming experience. Research your local zoo to see what kinds of preservation and rescue efforts they support. While you are checking them out online, be sure to check for feeding times and bonus exhibits like a petting zoo or a habitat experience that you didn’t know you needed to see.
4. Sign up for goat or puppy yoga A popular trend has made its way to the mainstream, and it includes animals and stretching. Do a Google search to find out what classes are near you. Oftentimes the profits from these classes benefit a local rescue group or animal sanctuary. If doing yoga with animals isn’t available in your area, you might be able to find a fundraiser class at a studio that benefits a local rescue group or shelter.
5. Join a pet walking or pet sitting service Make a little extra cash, or turn your passion into a career by joining a pet walking or pet sitting service! There are national and local services out there that will do the advertising for you, or you can start your own. If you aren’t keen on taking care of strangers’ pets, you can walk your neighbors’ dogs, check in on your friends’ cats, or house-sit for a work friend who has pets. Once you start asking around and taking small gigs, your clients will share your information with their friends and soon enough you’ll have plenty of furry friends to bond and explore with, to snuggle with, and to teach new tricks.
The information doesn’t stop here! We encourage you to watch videos, ask questions of your friends and relatives, and explore all your options when it comes to considering pet ownership. Just remember, you don’t have to own a pet to reap the benefits of being around animals!