kid and puppy

Welcoming a new pet into your home is a big decision – but a popular one. The number of individuals and families choosing to acquire a pet during the current pandemic is skyrocketing. While a pet is a wonderful addition to any home, it is important that you think long and hard before making such an important decision.

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The current situation has caused many American families to consider bringing home a pandemic pet. A recent survey from TD Ameritrade finds that 33% of Americans have considered fostering or adopting a new pet amid COVID-19.

Welcoming a new pet into your home is a big decision. Even if you understand all the benefits of owning a pet – and there are several – it is important that you do not forget about the responsibilities that come with it. Here are some things to consider:

  • Pets require a great deal of time and energy. If you are feeling stretched or always short on time, it probably is not the right time to add a pet to the mix. While pets can provide stress relief, they can add to your stress if you are not ready for it.
  • Pets are not one-size-fits-all. Before you commit to a new pet, you must be sure it is a good fit. For example, if you live in a small house with no fence, a big dog probably does not make sense.
  • Pets are not cheap. Even pets such as fish can cost more than you might think. Consider all the expenses you are likely to incur.

If you feel that you have the time, energy and money to add an animal to your family, then pet ownership can be a wonderful experience. This is especially true today, when social distancing has many people feeling isolated and alone. Further, having a pet gives kids (and parents) a chance to focus on something positive.

Below are just a few of the unique and priceless benefits families can derive from pet ownership:

  1. Improved Mental and Emotional Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that owning a pet can reduce blood pressure, lower stress and more. Pets love to shower affection on their owners, something we all need!
  2. Companionship. Lockdowns have been hard. Having an animal to focus on and take care of can help children and adults improve their mood by taking their minds off their problems.
  3. Responsibility. When children are expected to help take care of a family pet, they learn accountability. It also can improve their self-esteem because they understand that they are needed.
  4. Better Physical Health. Taking your pet for a walk or even just playing with them encourages an active lifestyle and gets people moving.

Finally, if you are considering a pet, consider adopting instead of shopping. The Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha has several animals ready for a forever home. There also are a tremendous number of pet rescue organizations in the Omaha/Elkhorn area.