Lots of people I know don’t have pets because they’re afraid that a pet might destroy their belongings or otherwise cause destruction and mayhem. While this is definitely the case with some pets, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and take on a furry family member. The love that you receive from a cat or a dog in the house is unlike any other kind of love you’ll ever experience. It is an experience to cherish and hold dear, though I heartily admit pet ownership isn’t right for everyone.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 picks for what pet parents sacrifice:
1. Clothes or furniture free of dog hair or cat hair
This one is tough to avoid at all costs, unless you decide on a hairless breed of cat or dog, but trust me; a house full of pets is a house full of loose fur! I have 3 dogs and 2 cats and I sweep and vacuum twice a week, which is probably less than half of what I should do. When you share your home with this many animals you learn to ignore the hair as much as possible. Some tips for tackling that hair problem?
- Soft leather furniture. I’ve had 2 cloth sofas and I now have a soft leather couch. By far, there is much less hair on the leather couch than on the previous sofas. You’ll have to mindful of claws and get high quality leather, but leather is much easier to clean than a cloth sofa.
- Regular grooming. The more hair you can remove with regular brushing and dog grooming means fewer hairs on your clothes! I groom weekly, but should do it more often.
- Use the hair as a condiment or garnish. My mother in law always said “Nothing tastes quite right without a Husky hair in it, or two!” I’m sure from an outsider this sounds gross, but fellow pet lovers can probably attest, there is no way you’re going to be completely hair free in your house.
2. Nice belongings.
Especially the case with young dogs, they will love to chew and they will inevitably find your favorite pair of expensive heels to chew on! My opinion is that every dog is different, some dogs I’ve had went after personal belongings, others chewed on furniture. There are ways to keep your pet from taking everything you love:
- Keep nice things (handbags, shoes, baskets, electronics) out of reach and behind closed doors.
- Use bitter apple spray on your furniture
- Adopt an older pet who is less likely to damage your belongings. Be sure to find out from the shelter staff if there are any known “chewing” incidents.
- Create a pets-only room: A room where you pet can roam unsupervised with plenty of toys, beds and chews to occupy their minds while you’re away.
3. An active social life.
Knowing that someone is waiting for you to come home and care for them might stifle someone with an active lifestyle. However, remember that you made a commitment to that pet when you adopted them as your own. I find it refreshing to know that I have to head home before the parties get too crazy, and it can be a money-saver, too!
Definitely privacy… Every dog or cat parent knows that a trip to the bathroom isn’t complete without someone following you in for a back scratch or just to keep you company. Expert tip: say the “B-A-T-H” word before you head towards the bathroom and the dogs in the house will head for the hills to avoid that particular form of torture!
5. A good night’s sleep!
This one is easy to remedy as long as you’re consistent and don’t give into your pet’s whimpers in the middle of the night. Dogs and cats both crave routine: Sleeping in bed will become a routine if you let it. Provide a soft dog bed in your bedroom and direct your pet to sleep on it. It will take patience and consistency, but they’ll figure it out. As for the cats waking you up at the crack of dawn for breakfast? Either get them in a routine where they’re fed later in the morning or close the bedroom door.
For me, the benefits of being a pet parent far outweigh the things I “sacrifice” to care for them. In return I receive unconditional love, forgiveness, someone to talk to at any time, and even lower blood pressure and stress levels! Pet parenthood is very rewarding, but it is a decision that should be weighed out very carefully. Remember, our pets can live to up to 20 years old and shouldn’t be discarded as soon as they inconvenience you. It’s a very long commitment to make and I applaud those of you who have made the commitment and joined our exclusive little club!
What did I miss? Let me know in the comments if there are other things you’ve given up in order to have a pet!