Pet Pros and Cons: Should You Get a New Pet After You Retire?

Pet Pros And Cons: Should You Get A New Pet After You Retire?

Do you see those cute puppy or kitty videos and think maybe you should get a new pet? Take some time to weigh things out before you do.

Pet Pros and Cons: Should You Get a New Pet After You Retire?

Even if you’ve had pets in the past, consider the pros and cons before you bring a new pet into your almost-retired (or retired) life.

It’s not uncommon for a beloved family pet to pass on at our age. Bob’s brother and his wife and my sister have recently lost cats and dogs they had for many years. I think we all know how tough that can be. It’s every bit as difficult as losing a family member.

But now that we’re getting up there in age, do we go and out get another pet to take their place? Before we do, it would be wise to look at the pros and cons of getting a new pet at this stage of our lives.

A new pet can be a wonderful addition to the almost-retired (or retired) life.

As empty-nesters who have cut back on work hours or stopped working altogether, we might have more time to spend enjoying a pet. Some of the pros of acquiring a new pet at this time include:

  • Companionship: If you live alone, a pet can be a wonderful companion and help overcome feelings of loneliness.
  • Health Benefits: Owning a pet can benefit both your physical and mental heath. Studies have shown pet ownership can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, and help you stay in shape. In addition, there are numerous positive effects on your mental health.
  • Protection: General safety precautions are helpful for your peace of mind, but there’s no doubt a good watchdog can provide an added sense of security. In fact, the size of the dog doesn’t seem to matter. Just having a dog in your home can prevent a break-in.
  • Enjoyment and Entertainment: Playing with a dog or cat, observing fish in an aquarium, or listening to all the chirps and trills of a pet bird can be endlessly enjoyable and entertaining.
pet pros and cons

While it might be tempting to focus on the benefits of a new pet, you should also consider the negatives.

Obviously, you’d want to think carefully about the type and size of pet you choose. But here are a few more things to take into account before you add a new pet to your life:

  • Responsibility: Having a pet is like having a child in many ways. They are totally dependent on you for their daily needs. This means having to find a caregiver if you are away from home for many hours or when you travel. It also involves maintaining their space. In other words, cleaning their messes. We’ve had just about every type of pet there is over the years and even the smallest of them require a lot of upkeep. (I’m looking at you hermit crabs and goldfish!) From the dog hair to the scattered seed and the green slime on the side of the fishbowl, there’s work involved, for sure.
  • Expense: Food isn’t the only expense to consider when you’re thinking of getting a new pet. There are also things like vet bills, boarding or petsitting, repairing damage caused by the pet, etc. The costs of maintaining any type of pet can really add up – to the tune of hundreds of dollars yearly.
  • Health risks: It’s probably not something you think about initially, but there is a possibility of negative effects on your health with pet ownership. Unknown allergies, risk of injury while caring for the pet, or the risk of diseases your pet can pass to you are things to consider.
  • Lifespan: No one likes to think about their own mortality, but what would happen to your pet if you died or became incapacitated? As we age, it’s obvious that questions like these become more relevant.
pet pros and cons

So, after weighing the pros and cons, should you get a new pet?

For us, the answer is no because we are on the go too much. We like venturing out on a whim, so we don’t think adding that responsibility is a good choice right now. But we are able to enjoy some time with our children’s pets now and again.

If you decide pet ownership isn’t right for you, but you love animals, you could consider one of these options:

  • Offer to pet sit for relatives or friends
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter
  • Pick up some part-time income walking dogs or pet-sitting through an app like Rover or Wag.

What do you think? Tell us what you’ve decided, or share your stories about your pets in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *