When you’re already juggling a career, family, home-schooling and more, adding a pet to the equation can make a busy schedule even busier. However, pets bring so much to our lives; they can bring families together and children love having them around. There are ways that people with busy schedules can still have pets, so here are some tips for caring for them when you don’t have a lot of spare time.
- Choose a Pet That’s Low Maintenance
It’s no use getting a pet that’s going to take up hours of your time, requires special products that you need to hunt down and buy, or that needs long walks day and night. As a busy household, you should probably avoid dog breeds such as Beagles or Labrador retrievers, for example, as they require long walks and lots of playtime. When the kids are small, they’re usually happy with some of the more low-maintenance pets, and if they show they can look after a rabbit or hamster, and are still regularly playing with it after a year, then you can move onto more challenging pets as they grow older.
- Keep Track of the Important Appointments
Busy parents will know that it’s hard to keep track of their kids’ dental health (as well as their own) on top of doctor visits, so it can be difficult for busy people to remember to get their pets boosters or checkups. Use a service such as Heart + Paw veterinary who’ll send you regular reminders when your pet needs an appointment — so that’s one less thing to remember. Older pets may need twice-yearly check-ups to look for common issues as they age and it’s better to take them to preventative sessions rather than deal with an illness down the line.
- Get Someone to Play With Them on Busy Days
If you choose a social animal, such as a dog, and you find they’re left alone a long time when you have busy days, don’t be surprised if they act out by barking or chewing. Doggy daycare can be a great way to socialize them, while also ensuring they aren’t left alone for long periods. If you’re overscheduled a couple of days a week, your local daycare will usually pick up your dog for you and return them happy, fed and well-exercised, meaning that’s one less thing to worry about.
- Get Them a Friend
There are certain pets that are better kept in pairs, which means if you’re busy and can’t always give them attention, then they’ll still get plenty of play and stimulation from their friend. Guinea pigs, for example, are herd animals that need to be kept in pairs or groups, and although they love human attention, they are quite happy playing together too. Some animals, such as rabbits or ferrets, will need a lot of human interaction if they are kept alone, so if you can’t give them as much attention as you’d like, at least get them a furry friend.
Having a busy schedule doesn’t completely rule out having pets in your household. As long as you ensure you or a sitter are giving them social interaction — and they aren’t left alone for long periods — you and your family can enjoy the advantages of having a pet.