Some people have pets all their lives while others discover the satisfaction of living with a companion animal later in life. However it happens, those with pets know it’s an enriching experience. But is retirement age a good time to adopt a pet? Are there things to consider at this stage of life that maybe weren’t an issue before? Here are some pros and cons to consider if you want to adopt a pet as a senior.
The Pros of Owning a Pet
There’s no doubt about it: Having an animal in your living space can provide a sense of comfort. Whether it’s a bird that chirps and flies about, a dog that demands a game of tug-of-war, or a cat that wants to sit on your keyboard as you try to send off an email, these animals provide a sense of companionship. It’s hard to feel lonely when your days are filled with the antics of a friendly little creature.
Depending on the type of pet you adopt, companion animals can make sure you get up and exercise on a regular basis. Dogs need to be walked frequently, and getting down on the floor to play with your cat also helps keep you limber.
Pet people often bond well with other pet people. Whether you chat online about your bird’s latest shenanigans or you get together with others at animal adoption meet-and-greets, having a pet makes you part of a community of other animal lovers.
A Wake-Up Call
Retirement is a big step that can bring about significant changes in your life. Having a pet that needs to be fed and attended to can be a powerful reason to want to get up in the morning so you don’t consistently oversleep.
The Cons of Owning a Pet
Too Much Exercise
While exercise can be an advantage because it gets you out and about, it can also become a con. If you want to adopt a dog and think you may be limited to how much exercise you can provide, you may need to consider a different type of pet — such as a bird, cat or hamster.
Animal care costs can be significant once they’re all added up. In addition to their food and supplies — cat litter, leashes, toys and licenses — there is also the cost of veterinary care. If you’re considering adopting an animal, keep in mind the regular preventative health care (checkups and vaccinations), as well as any potential injuries or illnesses that may require professional treatment.
If you’ve retired, you may have your eye on traveling. If you’re road-tripping, you may be able to bring your pet with you — but extensive travel may make that impossible. If you have a pet, you would need to consider who would care for your pet during your absence.
No one knows what is around the corner, but is your own health good enough to take on the responsibility of an animal? If you must be admitted to the hospital or have to go for frequent medical care, is there someone who can take care of your pet while you are unable?
Many people can’t do without the love of a pet. If you love animals but you aren’t sure if you can or should make a commitment yet, consider fostering animals for a local animal shelter. This allows you the opportunity to see if you can have a new pet in your life. It also allows you the freedom to care for an animal for short periods but still to go off and travel or have pet-free time, should you need it.
Adopting a pet can make for a more enriching retirement experience. Discover even more ways to ensure you’re making the most of your retirement in our free guide, Your Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Life Care Community.