Things have certainly changed over the last few decades when we look at how we care for our pets. As a child, I remember that we took our pets to the vet for rabies shots and if they were sick. That was it. Now perhaps my parents weren’t the most caring pet owners, but it seemed like that was commonplace in my little circle in the world. Now people do routine wellness visits and sick visits in the same way that one would do with their children. Is pet insurance worth it?
Many families love to own pets as part of their family unit and to teach their children age-appropriate responsibility in caring for a pet. Pets also contribute to the family’s mental well-being and encourage children to nurture other life. Some people choose to rescue a pet; others decide to pay for a purebred or exotic pet for their home. Pet loans are for buyers who wish to purchase a pet and cover the cost of veterinarian services.
If you are looking for a first pet for your children that is easy to manage, but can still enthuse them, then you need to seriously think about investing in a Fish Tank and as many, or as few fish as you would like to put in it.
It’s fair to say that fish do get a bit of hard time when it comes to recognising them as ‘proper’ pets, but this really shouldn’t be the case. Granted, they perhaps aren’t as ‘hands on’ as a cat or a dog but what they may lack in physical interactivity they more than make up for in other areas, so what exactly makes them the perfect starter pet for a child?
A Wealth of Choice
Perhaps the best aspect is the choice you can offer your children when you involve them in the selection process. This can be both a great bonding experience, as well as simply an enjoyable family time when you choose the size of the tank, the accessories within it, and of course the fish themselves. Thanks to the huge variety offered by reliable retailers like All Pond Solutions you can essentially provide an entirely bespoke pet that you can’t otherwise get with different animals.
Hassle-free Care and Educational
Another benefit as a parent is you don’t have to worry about any allergy issues with your children, nor are there the dangers that come with the waste and mess you get with cats and dogs. If you have slightly older and more responsible children they can easily learn how to clean fish-tanks and feed their fish and you can use this as means for them to earn their pocket money and learn about responsibility.
Furthermore in regards to the educational element, if you invest in more exotic and unusual fish from different climes you can help your children learn about other cultures and the science behind why fish need the water a certain temperature.
The final advantages come from a design point of view; a fish tank can really add a fresh and interesting look to any room in your home, particularly when backlit. On top of this, a fish tank can have a calming and almost hypnotic effect that can help you and your children relax and unwind.
So there you have it, if you are looking for a first pet for your children, fish are the perfect choice for you.
The holidays are times of both excitement and stress, of festivity and fatigue. If you own pets, you not only get to prepare lavish meals, shop for family and friends, decorate, and wrap gifts, but you also have to deal with keeping your furry kids out of trouble when guests are over or when there are dangerous edibles like chocolate laying around.
But don’t despair! Owning pets can enhance your holiday spirit, not hinder it. Just check out the following tips for surviving the holidays with pets at home:
Staying Out of Trouble
The biggest issue with pets is that they can’t seem to stay out of trouble, especially when there are human treats and toys and decorations all around them. It’s quite a departure from the living arrangements they’re accustomed to for the other eleven months of the year, so many pets are naturally intrigued by the sweet smells in the air and tinsel hanging from the walls (they’d probably love nothing more than to claw or chew it all up!).
For starters, the ASPCA offers a comprehensive list of foods that are hazardous for dogs as well as one for cats. Things like chocolate can really upset their stomachs (or worse, if eaten in large quantities), so be sure to secure garbage containers and leave no food out where your pet could snatch it. Even if you have a cat or a big dog that’s normally pretty obedient, don’t underestimate what they’d do to get at that chocolate cake or roasted chicken sitting on your counter.
Also be mindful of decorations that could potentially harm your pet, such as a tree (make sure it’s locked in place so it can’t fall over) or small decorations that they could chew up or swallow, causing intestinal issues that could lead to a pricy visit to the veterinarian.
Having guests over for holiday parties presents another problem for pet owners: what should you do with Fluffy and Fido? Some people won’t appreciate animals freely roaming around while they’re trying to eat, but locking up your pets for several hours isn’t a realistic or humane option either. Your options here include: leaving your pets in your bedroom and letting them out after your guests have finished their meal, hiring a pet sitter to take care of your pets while you’re busy playing host or hostess, ask your neighbor to look after your pets for the evening (only if they like animals, of course), or if you have children and your party is for the adults only, ask or pay your human kids to look after your furry, four-legged kids for the night.
Going Out of Town
If you go out of town for the holidays, the logistics of making sure your pets are taken care of become a bit more complicated. Some people don’t mind dropping their pets off at a boarding facility, but not only are these rather pricy during the holiday season, they could potentially lead to health problems if your pet catches an illness from someone else’s pet. Another option is to simply bring your pet along on your holiday travels, but for many, this isn’t possible due to limited space or pet restrictions at your destination.
There is also the option of hiring a pet sitter, but this could cost you in upwards of $20-50 per visit, depending on the time duration and services rendered (e.g., taking your dog on a walk or crushing pills for your cat). If you don’t have a doggie door or your cat doesn’t use an indoor litter box, you could end up having to pay for multiple visits to make sure your pets are going to the bathroom regularly. To save money, consider hiring a reliable teenager in your neighborhood who clearly loves animals and would love to make some cash over the holidays by looking after your pets.
Sure, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to managing your pets during the holidays, but it’s not all precautionary measures! When it comes time to unwrap presents, it’s always fun to give something to your pet to make sure they don’t feel left out. Whether it’s a simple bone or bag of cat treats or a luxurious new bed (you can always search around for coupons and coupon codes to minimize the costs of gifts for your pets), getting something for your pet is a nice way to share the holiday cheer with every member of your family.
What other tips and tricks do you have when it comes to pets around the holidays?
We talk about how expensive our kids can be, but what about our fur babies?
I’m an animal lover of all, even the not-so-pretty ones, but my family pet of choice is a cat. I grew up with a house full of them (we had four at one point) and my husband and I currently have one spoiled three-year-old kitty we both adore. We were discussing eventually getting a dog, but it won’t be for a long time given how expensive our cat has proven to be.
Our Family Pet Expenses
Our cat was diagnosed with irritable bowel disease (IBD) a few months after we got her. This was an annoyingly expensive diagnosis to make. Outside of exploratory surgery, we had almost every diagnostic test done for a feline just to have the vet eventually tell us that the episodes of vomiting, diarrhea and not eating were being brought on my an irritation. Something we would basically have the deal with for the rest of her life. She was right. Every six to eight months we end up at the vets office having our cat’s episodic symptoms treated. It is not cheap.
This post isn’t about how expensive my cat is. It is to alert you that, though cats are generally a lower maintenance animal, it isn’t always the truth. We got our cat with a clean bill of health and no obvious issues only to find out a few months later she had a health condition that would ultimately end up costing us thousands. This may be true for any pet.
Why You Need to Budget for a Family Pet
It breaks my heart when I hear stories of animal neglect and abuse. It makes me even sadder when I find out the neglect is brought on because the owners simply didn’t have the finances in order to properly care for the animal.
Until this cat, I’ve never considered pet insurance, but with her diagnosis, my husband and I seriously considered it for the first time. In our situation it didn’t make sense, given that they wouldn’t cover her pre-existing conditions, but you better believe it is something I will obtain for all future pets. With our little fur baby, we’ve become pretty good at recognizing triggers and knowing what to do before it escalates into a full-blown (read: budget busting) episode so deal with them as they arise.
Ways to Lower Your Family Pet Expenses
In order for us to keep emergency vet bills lower, we have opted to maintain her on a more expensive diet. Our experience is that paying more for the higher quality food causes less flare-ups, (one to two per year versus upwards of five). Yes, our monthly costs are higher in the ‘pet food’ category, but paying more for a good quality food leads to less emergency vet visits which have the potential to be extremely expensive.
When you chose to add a pet to your family, it is only fair to the animal to care for it in every way required. You are choosing to bring them into your life, your family. If you can’t afford the proper food or vet care, maybe now isn’t the time to be thinking about a pet. I’ve had friends look at us like we were nuts when we tell them how much we spend on our cat, and ask us why we wouldn’t just have her put down and be done with it all. Why? Because we love her and have accepted responsibility of her. If it got to a point we couldn’t care for her we would do our best to find someone who could. We didn’t give up on her just because she costs more than a $15.00 bag of cat food every month.
Even without an emergency every arising, your pet will still need normal care. Everything from food, to common pest treatments, annual vet exams and treatments, affordable pet vaccinations, age or breed related illnesses, the list goes on. There is so much more to consider outside of feeding and playing with your pet.
If you’re thinking about getting a pet, or have one now, consider adding a ‘pet expense’ category to your budget so if an emergency arises, and you don’t have pet insurance, you have the funds without risking the rest of your family’s needs.
Do you have a dedicated category for your family pet in your budget?
It has been a long week here. Hamilton the baby piglet has passed away due to a congenital problem. I received the phone call the other morning from my future son-in-law that something was wrong with “Hammy”. I jumped up and got dressed and my daughter was at work. We decided not to tell her right away because there was no need to upset her if it wasn’t serious.
The vet checked Hammy out and ran tests but sent us home to wait for the results. We told my daughter. Hammy was not getting better so we called the vet back and brought him back in. By the time he was rushed back the vet said to get him to Tufts Animal Hospital right away.
Death of a pet
To make a long story short I was home with my family and my daughter called me hysterical. Hamilton had passed away in her arms 15 minutes from the hospital. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help my daughter feel better. They went to the hospital because Kay had to know what happened and they told her it looked liked something he had been born with. They took Hammy home and asked if I wanted to be there for the burial. As you all know I helped raise him and I had to be there for the kids.
We are all still heartbroken. My daughter and her fiancé are still grieving. I received a phone call that night and this is exactly what was said to me, “Mom, I feel as though I have lost a baby and it shouldn’t hurt this bad.” My heart was so heavy and I was so frustrated because there was not ONE thing I could say to make her feel better.
Even her brothers ages 13 and 10 years were grieving. My 13-year-old son walked off on his own and just stared out at the river. He couldn’t deal with his sister and her fiancé actually crying. My 10-year-old son stayed close but I could tell he didn’t know what to do. He wanted so much to say something but had no clue what words to use.
When we left my daughters house and returned home we still needed to have dinner. My boys told me that they would give all of their money to K and C to help pay for the doctors for Hammy. My heart lurched again.
I have now learned that there are times when we will really have to watch our children hurt right from the core of their beings. And that there is nothing we can do to stop it but give them love and space.
Being a parent is so much work but seeing the love in my kids does make me so proud. RIP Hamilton, you will certainly always be in our hearts.
Have you ever experienced the death of a pet with children around?
Okay, I know it’s not the most glamorous topic in the world, but it is important if you have a cat or are thinking of getting one. I adopted my very first cat less than 15 years ago. Before that time, I had decided that “I wasn’t a cat person.” I love all animals great and small but that doesn’t mean I want to own all of them.
Then – into my life – walked a cute little gray and white kitten, who I named Sadie. I was hooked. Two years later, I ended up adopting a precocious black kitten who I named Ozzie — aka The Million Dollar Cat. Now, I am a bona fide cat expert!
Well, maybe not quite but I do know a lot about cat litter. Not only have my cats tested just about every kind of cat litter there is — I also worked in the pet industry for two years. Because of this, what I lack in personal experience – I learned through the experiences of others.
How hard can it be to pick a cat littler anyway?
Here are some of the main types of cat litter. There is clay litter, clumping litter, corn, newspaper, pine, wheat, crystal, scented, unscented, natural (and not so natural), heavy and light weight. The main things people want to know are; which one lasts the longest, hides the odor and it the most eco-friendly? There are really so many things to consider. Who knew? I will explain some of the pros and cons of each and then reveal my MOST favorite cat littler in the whole world!!! 🙂
Clay litter is probably the cheapest option, but it is heavy and doesn’t clump. This means it may need to have a complete litter change more often to prevent bacteria and odor. Clay litter may contain some chemicals to supress the odor. It also emits a lot of dust.
This can be made of any number of materials but essentually it clumps so it is easy to dispose of liquid waste. Most of these can help to supress odor and come in scented and unscented versions. The clumping clay litter still emits quite a bit of dust though.
Natural fiber litter
Corn, wood, newspaper, wheat, etc are biodigradable and most are natrual. You’ll have to check the pacakging. Some may be scented and some may contain chemicals for clumping purposes. I have used the corn, wood and newspaper varieties and the corn was my favorite for odor control. The pine litter I tried smelled great when I first put it in the box but it soaked up the liquid waste and got funky fast. Now, they offer a clumping version which I have not tried. I imagine it works much like the corn.
Crystal litter has become popular in recent years. I have never tried it but people who have seem to like it. Many of them use it in their automatic litter boxes because it doesn’t get stuck in the tongs like some of the other litters can.
Scented or unscented?
This is up to you. Ozzie developed an allergy to one of the scented clumping litters I used when when he was a kitten. Sadie never had any problems but Ozzie’s paws got chapped and even started bleeding. It was horrible. That’s when I switched to an unscented version that the vet recommended. If your cat is prone to upper respiratory infections you should choose a low dust unscented cat litter.
Now for my VERY favorite cat litter! I absolutely adore this brand for many reasons…
Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter
This wondrous litter is made using corn cobs and baking soda. It contains a light fresh scent which I love and luckily, Ozzie’s paws haven’t had an adverse reaction to it. I tried another corn litter before but the fine particles stuck to my cat’s paws leaving dusting cat prints all over the house.
If you have a cat I highly recommend this litter. They aren’t even paying me to say that — but they should!!! 🙂
Of course, not all litters work for all cats and owners, if your cat is having issues using their litter box, it is best to consult the vet. Cats are really good about going in their boxes, so if they suddenly stop doing that — it may be the sign of a bigger issue.
TIP: When switching litters, it is best to mix a little of the new in with the old and slowly make the transition. Cats can be finicky and if you totally switch it might throw them off and they may refuse to use the box all together.
If you have any questions or suggestions of your own — I would love to hear them.
Do you have cats? Why type of litter do you use?
When our Betta fish – Nemo – died, I wasn’t really sure how to explain it to my then, 2 year old twins. While we were out, he had jumped from his bowl and plunged to his death. I was shocked and sad — but most of all I was afraid the boys would be inconsolable. They really loved that fish.
What to tell your children when a pet dies
They saw my shock (yes — I know it was a fish, but I love all my pets) and started to ask what happened to Nemo. The first thing I blurted out was, “Nemo must have gone home to visit his Mommy and Daddy.” At this point my husband looked at me and said something like, “Just tell them what happened.” I don’t like lying to my kids — but I felt like telling them the truth would steal some of their innocence. I knew he was right, so I had to retract my story, and tell them that Nemo had indeed died.
Of course, they didn’t know exactly what this meant so I said, “Nemo went to Heaven.” One of their grandfathers past away shortly after their 1st birthday. We have always talked about their Papa being in Heaven with Jesus, so I knew they would sort of understand what I meant by that.
I remembered seeing a Cosby Show episode where Rudy’s goldfish died. The family gathered around the toilet, said some nice words and flushed it. That seemed like it might be a good idea. We took our sweet Nemo into the bathroom, said some nice words, told him good-bye and flushed him down the toilet. Before the lid even shut A. turned to me and said, “Can we get another Nemo?” That made me wonder why I had even bothered with my story in the first place. Lesson learned.
We did get another Betta, his name was James. Yes — I said was. He lived about a year and then passed away. I told the boys straight up what happened; he died, he’s in Heaven with Nemo and all of that. I flushed him on my own, since it seems as though I’m the only one in the family who cares when our fish die. In case you are wondering – we did get a new Betta – his name is Firefish Sam.
All poop goes to heaven
So anyway — last summer I began potty training the boys. They were doing pretty well and N. was really getting the hang of pooping in the potty. One day – as I was emptying out his potty chair into the toilet – he turns to me and in all seriousness says “My poop go to Heaven with Nemo and James and Papa?”
Uh Oh! What had I done? Since that time, I have had to explain over and over that the toilet is not the gateway into Heaven. However, I’m not sure if they completely believe me.
It was funny. It totally caught me off guard. It made me realize just how important it is to think about what I am saying, before I attempt to explain things to the boys.
Oh – and when Firefish Sam dies – he’ll be buried; not flushed.
How have you explained death to your children?
We all want our children to grow up to be responsible adults. We spend time nurturing and teaching and guiding so that we can form or mold them into responsible citizens. And when we look at how well they are doing we breath a sigh of relief. Parenting is not easy, there are no books and we learn as we go.
An event took place over the weekend that has made me realize just how responsible children can be. My daughter and her fiancée decided to get their first pet. This pet is a mini potbellied piglet. Because their home is not ready they asked me to help and “pig sit”. What wasn’t planned is that the piglets in the litter were pulled from mom too early and sent to a person who was the middleman.
Being the responsible grandmother that I intended to be in the piglet world I went with the kids to pick up the “baby”. Okay, can anyone guess what happens next? Long story short we have twins. And being dehydrated they need constant care.
Teaching my children to care for baby pets
I have learned that two boys ages 13 and 10 can be excellent caregivers. If piglets can get these boys up at 5am to help bottle-feed then I should have done this long ago! I have also learned that my daughter and her fiancée are going to be excellent parents to human children someday. Kids, if you are reading this please hold off on the human grandbabies until I recoup from piglets.
Teaching our children is not always easy. We have the usual homework battles as well as the getting up for school issues. We certainly are not the Brady Bunch. But watching my family care and nurture the piglets has made me realize just how far these children we have raised have come. Will they turn out to be responsible adults? I hope they will!
We as parents tend to get caught up in the everyday tasks of life. We are often so busy that we don’t take time to actually stop and see just how our efforts pay off.
Even before having children of our own we hear and read just how hard parenting can be. Truth is, the experts are right, it is tough and overwhelming at times. There is something the experts can’t show or tell us though. They can’t make our hearts swell with pride anywhere near as well as our children can!
So parents give yourself a pat on the back….we continue the tough job but we manage to get the job done with great rewards.
Do you have pets? How have you gotten your children to help care for them?
First of all – I would just like to say – that I do not suggest using your dog as a babysitter while you and your spouse go out for a “date night.” If you would like to go and have a pedicure do not leave your dog in charge of the children. It is not even acceptable to leave your kids with the dog while you run to the store really quick. I know this and would never do such a thing because of course — it is illegal! Besides that, dogs are just no good at changing diapers, getting kids to eat their vegetables, or putting children to bed at a descent hour.
What I am talking about instead, are those times when I just needed to leave the room for a moment and thought, “The babies are in their exercisers and the dog is watching them; how much trouble can they really get into?” Oh boy, let me tell you; things can get ugly fast.
Leaving the dogs in charge
One example of this is happened, when I left my dog in charge of the boys, they were about 18 months old — (Yes, I realize how crazy that sounds.) They were in their high chairs, happily eating some cottage cheese – one of their favorite things to eat at the time – they were using their spoons, and everything! It was an idyllic scene; something straight out of a Norman Rockwell calendar.
I had been cleaning, and decided to run the garbage outside really quick. I would be right back and it would take 30 seconds tops! So there were my sweet little boys and my sweet doggie. I told the dog, “You’re in charge. Mommy will be right back.”
Huge mistake! HUGE!
When I walked back in, it looked like someone had turned on a snow machine as soon as I shut the door – and apparently – they had. The boys were covered in cottage cheese, the dog was covered in cottage cheese, and the kitchen was covered in cottage cheese. Yes – that’s right folks, the kitchen I had just cleaned was now totally cheesy.
The boys were laughing and flinging cheese in the air like it was confetti — and what was my sweet, responsible dog doing you might ask? She was licking the cheese off of everything, as fast as she could.
Since that day, I am totally convinced that dogs and children can communicate! I’m pretty sure the conversation that my dog had with the boys that day, went something like this.
The dog: “Hey, boys! You know what would be really fun?”
The boys: “What?”
The dog: “Wouldn’t it be great to throw the cottage cheese in the air like it’s snowing? That would be really fun and totally hilarious! I bet Mommy will think it’s hilarious too! Do you boys want to do that?”
The boys: “Yeah!”
The dog: “Aren’t I the best babysitter ever?”
The boys: “Yeah!”
When I posted a warning to others via my Facebook page “FYI — Dogs do not make good babysitters” the only thing people wanted to know, was if I had pictures. Pictures? Are you kidding me?
Of course, now I wish I had taken the time to take pictures but all I could think about then was cleaning everything up – that was spotless – only minutes before.
So if you are thinking about leaving your dog in charge of the kids – learn from my mistakes and don’t do it!
Do you have any funny stories like this?