Parker County Today December 2017 - Page 51

our advice: ASK DR. CATE Vet Rap by Dr. Ryan Cate Adding a New Pet to Your Holiday Mix By DR. RYAN CATE and MELISSA MOORMAN QUESTION:  Dear Dr. Cate: We were consider- ing a new pet for our family as a Christmas present? Do you have any suggestions so our pet will be a happy addition to our family? cost of your new pet. Research the pet breed and type you are considering, but all pets require a financial commitment. Vet visits, food, medicine and shots are just some of the costs you can expect to encounter. If you are consid- ering an exotic pet like a turtle, snake or lizard, make sure that you know who locally has experi- ence with the species you choose. Remember, wild animals are never a good choice for a family pet. What will your future look like? Although no one has a crys- tal ball, you need to consider the future of the pet you choose. Some horses live 30 years or more, while some birds can live 100 years. You are making a commitment for the animal’s life, so make sure you are planning for the pet and your own future. Your veterinarian is a great resource if you are considering adding a family pet. They can share what a pet’s needs will be and can discuss whether the one that you are considering will be compatible with your family’s life- style. Adding a pet can make for a great and memorable holiday for your entire family, if you do your research and planning before- hand. ANSWER:  Adding a member to your family is definitely something to think about before you see a cute dog at the pet store on adoption day.  When you add a pet, you are promising to care for that animal for its entire life. A pet is a living thing with feelings, needs and you are solely responsible for its welfare. I encourage you to consider the following before you make a commitment. Will the pet get along with any other pets you might have? Is the pet the same species as the one(s) you have now? If yes, there could be jealousy issues. If not, will the pet be compatible with another kind of animal you already have in your home? What expectations do you have of the pet you are consider- ing? Are you looking for a jogging buddy, or just one to keep your feet warm through the winter? You need to make sure that the pet you choose is compatible with your expectations and your life- style. Don’t choose a pet that is nocturnal if you value your sleep, for example. Who will be taking care of the new pet and how much time will they have to devote to it? If you are purchasing a new cat or dog for a child, make sure the child is old enough to care for the animal you choose. If the child is old enough, be ready to assist with obedience training. If not, obedience training is avail- able at many locations and is worth the money. But remember, a child needs to be supervised with a new pet. Their attention spans are short just like a puppy’s or a kitten’s. You need to make sure the pet is getting everything it needs on a day-to-day basis. How much room will the new pet need? Be reasonable when you choose a pet. Don’t bring a 90-pound dog into a one- bedroom apartment. Consider the space needs of your new pet. Different breeds have different needs when it comes to exer- cise and space needed. Also be aware of any restrictions if you rent. Some cities, suburbs, home- owner’s associations or apartment complexes have rules about the number and types of animals that are allowed. How much does a new pet cost? Make sure you can afford the 49