What is the right pet for me?

How much is that doggie, cat or guinea pig in the window? You know the ones with the waggly tails? The good news is that doggie, cat or other pet may be worth its price in gold.
“The key to having a pet is to select the right pet for the family circumstance… pets are not one size fits all,” said Dr. Robert Esplin, a doctor of veterinary medicine for 47 years. Dr. Bob, as he is known, founded SylvaniaVET, 4801 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd. in Sylvania in 1974.

Selecting a pet

Tina Ferner, professional dog trainer and owner of Canine Karma, 6128 Merger Dr. in Holland, agrees that selecting the right pet for the right situation is important. “I have several clients in their 70s who are strong, healthy and vital but they have gotten large dogs like a German Shepherd” so they struggle staying on their feet while walking their dogs, Ferner said. Another questionable decision is owning a large dog when you live in an apartment or efficiency.

Also, though puppies are cute, cuddly and playful, Ferner said, “puppies are an enormous amount of work” and require patience and training. Adopting an older and quieter dog should be a consideration. The upside of adopting a cat is that cats can live their lives indoors, offer affection, companionship and keep themselves clean. The downside is that their litter box still needs to be changed regularly.

The American Veterinary Medical Association website avma.org lists companion animals as dogs, cats, birds and horses, as well as specialty and exotic animals including fish, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and an array of other animals.

Benefits and Concerns

Focusing on the 55-and-over population, Dr. Bob says, “There are huge studies that show seniors live longer if they have pets in their lives.”

According to research at petsfortheelderly.org, older pet owners experience the following benefits

Dr. Bob said another benefit for seniors owning a pet(s) is “when they pet their pets, one of the really cool things that happen is their blood pressure drops.”
However, there are downsides to owning pets. Dr. Bob said,
“Pets just don’t live long enough. In most cases we outlive our pets.”
Plan for the expenses, because having a pet is not free. Pet health insurance can help tremendously.

Owning a pet has much to offer.

Benefits of  owning a pet:

  • Reduces the risk for heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure and triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • Offers physical benefits (walking your dog)
  • Provides for psychological needs (unconditional love)

Joanna Anthony with Daisy and Wilson
Joanna Anthony with Daisy and Wilson

  David Tobian and Matty
David Tobian and Matty

Lori Smith with Molly and Kenzie
Lori Smith with Molly and Kenzie

From 12-5pm Sunday, September 17, SylvaniaVET will be holding Lilly’s Pet-Palooza in celebration of the human-animal bond. Each Sunday at 6:30pm Canine Karma has a group walk at Swan Creek Preserve Metropark with the focus on decreasing canine’s behavioral problems such as fear and reactivity. You can reach Dr. Bob at 419-885-4421 and Tina Ferner at 419-290-8237 or visit their websites at sylvaniavet.com and caninekarma.org.

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