Wanting to have a pet to accompany you through your golden years is not unheard of. In fact, 80 million households in the U.S. have a pet and 37 percent of these are baby boomers according to the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey. So if you've thought about adopting a dog, don't get so wrapped up with the idea that you may not be able to give it the care it needs. With research, preparation, and proper setting of expectations, it is possible to be a pet parent even after age 50. Here are four major considerations to think about before you sign the adoption papers.
1. Your Financial Situation
A dog can cost you more money than what you're prepared to spend. There's dog food, vet visits, vaccination, grooming, and others. Having said so, it pays to sit down and really think about whether you can afford the cost of keeping a dog (not just today, but in the long run) and whether or not you have funds you can tap into in case of an emergency.
2. Your Lifestyle
Pets, especially dogs, are very much like babies. They need as much time and attention they can possibly get from you. For this reason, it's crucial to ask yourself whether you'd be willing to spend as much time as possible with the dog you wish to adopt. If you're half-hearted, don't push through with the adoption. You don't want to bring the dog back to the shelter just because you realized halfway that you can't take care of him or her anymore.
3. Your Existing Health Conditions
As we all know, dogs require exercise. An hour each day would normally do, but there are breeds which will require more physical activity with you. With this said, it's highly advised that you look closely to your health conditions, if any. Ask your GP if getting yourself a furry best friend will improve your health or do the opposite.
4. Veterinary Recommendations
After taking the time to think about the first three considerations above, let's say you've decided that adopting the dog you have in mind is the best decision for you. Before you take the last step -- signing the adoption papers -- it's highly advised that you talk to a veterinarian in your community. Ask trusted friends around for referrals or if you live in an assisted living facility, you can probably ask your caregivers for vets they can recommend. This is a crucial step in the adoption process as vets are the best people to talk to about any questions you have about the dog you wish to adopt. This includes every health concern and worst possible scenarios that you may have to deal with as a soon-to-be pet parent like letting the vet administer animal antibiotics in case your dog catches a bacterial infection, how to deal with your dog's temperament, dog training, and others.
Dogs are known as man's best friend for many reasons. One of them is because of the unconditional love and devotion they provide their masters -- something that the people you hold dear to your hearts may not be capable of giving you. So if you've spent an ample amount of time about these major considerations and you believe that getting a furry friend is what's best for you and your health, then go for it! You'll surely have ups and downs with your animal companion but it will surely be worth the ride.