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Should A Single Parent Home Own A Pet?

For many this is an aesthetic as well as a financial question, should a single parent home own a pet? The concern of course is money spend on the animal are resources taken from the care and development of the child. Then, there is the time and energy aspect, many feel these factors spend on pets is again resources taken from a child.

Many experts believe that owning a pet in any household is beneficial for a child. When a child participates in caring for the pet, that child learns some responsibility. The child understands the importance of caring for someone other than himself, so he leans toward not being too self-oriented. Then there is the companionship benefit, an only child is not so alone, this child has the unconditional love of a pet. Households with more than one child experience special bond between siblings as they evolve in the caring of their pet. Caring for a pet, according to experts helps build a child’s “self-esteem” and helps him feel more secure in the home. Depending of the pet, a child becomes more active; this person tend to be out doors more. Some experts assert that the presence of a pet in a home help a child to build his immune system. The child’s body learns to develop an immunity to bacteria carried by pets. The more involve a child is in the care of a pet, declares experts, the more he will learn the importance of good hygiene and health. Veterinary visits motivate a child to read more so that he can learn more about his pet as well as the care of that pet.

There are of course, negatives to having a pet in the home. Parents must factor in the cost of care and zoonosis, diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. To start, since some children are allergic to furry animals, a parent should first ascertain if a child has any animal allergies. Salmonella ailment comes from reptiles so keep this in mind should you decide to get a turtle or lizard. Rabies is a disease found in animals and can be passed on to humans. Consequently, the priority is getting rabies shots for all dogs and any animal that might carry the disease. Cats can give children “Cat Scratch Fever”, or Bartonella Henselae. Dogs can also transfer this disease. In both animals the infection can come from either the animal’s paws, or feces. Other diseases that can be spread are: Toxoplasma gonidd protozoa, Campylobacter, hookworm and tapeworms just to name a few. Should you choose to have a pet in the home, it is imperative that hand washing is number one priority.

Is the experts' opinion enough for a single mother to not get a pet or to get one? Sometimes the options are out of her control, in particular when the child sees a stray puppy or kitten and brings it home and ask, "Can we keep him?" What is a mother to do? Of course the logical answer is to shut the door firmly in the face of the child and the pet. However, what mother would do that? Instead, with the visible picture of child and pet, the mother works around in her mind the possibilities of having a pet in the home. A mother begins to ask herself do we have space for a pet and can we commit long term, over 10 years, to the care of a pet? What about the noise and the neighbors? Will we be able to live that down? It is a sharp mental calculation of rent and pet deposit, groceries and pet food, household expenses and pet supplies, medical emergencies and veterinary care, with a final total equaling to "make it happen". So a mother’s response, more often than not is, "Yes we can, yes we can keep him".

With an "S" on her chest, symbolizing supermom, the mother takes the pet in and begins the caring process. Child and mother move around the home to find items to place the new family member and hence begin the, “to do” and purchase list. The frugal mother creates make-shift items to secure and feed the pet until finances become available to make legitimate purchases. In the meantime the child is too excited to notice the unattractive tools used to care for the pet. And like superman, supermom flies in between her work time, household chores, and personal care to help assimilate the new member. This means potty training, care and doctor visits not for the child, for the pet. Supermom juggles walking the dog or cleaning the cat’s liter between bedtime, breakfast and dinner. She does this for over 3 months, or for over a year depending of the age of her child. At the end of the day, supermom flops on the bed exhausted from flying and wonders to herself, should a single parent home own a pet?

CC by Flickr

CC by Flickr

If your response is no, then all is well for you and yours. However, if your answer is yes, due to circumstances and or a conscious decision to own a pet, then here are some resourceful ways to care for the pet without crippling your finances or time.

Pet Insurance

A visit to veterinarian can get experience; an emergency visit to the vet can get even more expensive. Consequently, making small monthly payments for pet insurance makes good sense. The secret in making the monthly payments work for you, begins with selecting the right company and the right plan, as well as understanding that some pet care options are not vital to the care of the pet. The idea is to protect your family and your pet from animal diseases so this means basic care. Therefore, the best pet insurance should not cost you more than $15 per month, some companies ask for as little as $10 per month. Before signing up for any insurance make sure to read and understand the agreement so that you are clear on what the insurance pays for.

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CC by Flickr

Online Websites And Dollar Stores

Use E-commerce online companies and the Dollar stores in your community to get inexpensive pet items and food. You name it, it’s available on major e-commerce websites. There are used and new items at low cost that can save you tons.


If you want to get a pet for your family this organization is a terrific place to start. All of their pets receive complete care and are usually free for adoption. Some individuals reported difficulty adopting via this organization but do not be deterred because if successful you will save tons in veterinary care.

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CC by Flickr

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Animal Foster Care

In many states there are foster care options for pets. Many individuals would like to care for animals but cannot do long term care hence, the idea for animal foster care. This is a great opportunity for single parent homes because it is temporary and hence not as costly. The drawback is attachment syndrome, when it becomes difficult to return the pet to its original home. Check with your ASPCA division or in your state to see if animal foster care is an option in your area.

Videos On Caring For A Pet

If your child is old enough to help care for the pet viewing of videos on caring for a pet is a great first start. If you have access to a computer, You Tube is also a good tool to help train your child to care for a pet. Viewing videos will also teach you how to train your child in the appropriate pet care.

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CC by Flickr

Pet Stores

Many if not all pet stores offer some training but, this training can be a bit pricey so be careful. This is a great place to learn about how best to care for your pet. Visit a Pet Store and just chat with a knowledgeable sales person to learn more about your pet. Pet stores also have seasonal free pet adoption similar to the above mentioned ASPCA service.

Grooming Tips

You can save a lot of money by grooming your own pet. Vets suggest using shampoos and conditions for dogs that are free of chemicals. Experts also suggest that you let your dog air dry after every bath and that weekly brushing is best for cats and dogs.

Battling Fleas

To prevent fleas and ticks infestation try Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade. This is a multi-purpose product that works wonders around the house. It is safe to sprinkle on beds, on carpets, and any cushion areas.

Many single parent homes own pets, for some it is a success for many not so much. As always whether your single parent home should own a pet is your call. But remember to always think outside the box to move the single parent home forward, with or without a pet.


Yvette G Marshall on August 01, 2019:

David, Thank you. I am glad the article was helpful; and I agree there are fabulous single dad's. My plan is to feature more articles about them unfortunately, my computer is not behaving so my plans are in setback mode.

Davidoff99 on July 31, 2019:

Great article! I’m a single father considering a pet and this article has proved useful. So thanks! However I would ask for greater sensitivity to the fact that these days there are many awesome single out there, not just ‘supermoms’, who take an active role in their kids’ upbringing. I’m a little tired of of the gender specific and very cliched references like those in this article. Shout out to the supermoms and superdads with superpets :-)

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