Can Nurses Make Good Pet Parents?

A nurse loves to care and be there for people, and many nurses feel the same way about animals. Due to the busy schedule and long shifts of a nurse, it can be hard for them to juggle the studying and (once qualified), the job. Those who are single or don’t have family nearby to lend a helping hand will struggle the most. Dogs especially need to be kept company and be mentally stimulated. If you are a nurse working a twelve-hour shift, it can be difficult to provide the pet with the things they need to be happy, well behaved and mentally well. Today, we will be exploring the pros and cons to a nurse owning a pet, and we will focus on dog ownership.

What Are the Complications?

The main issue to nurses owning pets is the long, unbalanced work hours. Some weekends may be free, whereas other times you have to work six shifts in a row. Pets love routine, so the lack of routine if the owner is a nurse could cause distress from some breeds, which can in turn, lead on to more issues for your pet. This includes a dog developing behavioral problems or mental health issues, such as separation anxiety. All dogs are different, and some breeds will be more prone to issues from the lack of routine than others, but before getting a pet as a nurse, you need to think, do you really have time to look after this animal who revolves its life around you? 

The same can be said when it comes to studying to become a nurse, but luckily for your furry friend, there are options available to reduce the amount of time you spend apart. For example, you can study online nurse practitioner programs with no GRE at home. These online nurse practitioner programs with no GRE are there to further your education at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home, which is great if you own a pet.

What Makes a Happy Dog?

Dogs are particularly needy pets. A cat or a pair of rabbits, for example, can be left alone for prolonged periods of time and they are quite happy doing their own thing, which is perfect for a nurse because they can get on with their job knowing their pet isn’t pining too much. As long as the animals are clean, fed and watered, with some human contact and plenty of space and entertainment, then there isn’t much more you can do to keep them happy and content. However, this isn’t the same for a dog. A dog needs to be exercised with a human present. They need constant companionship, space, toilet breaks and plenty of mental stimulation, especially if they are young and enthusiastic. As a nurse, it can be hard to provide this level of care, but it’s not impossible. If you don’t have any family or close friends nearby, then there are many services that exist that can help you during the days you have an extra-long shift and can’t provide your pooch with the things they need. 

Why Can a Nurse Benefit from Owning a Pet?

Careers in nursing are very tough. It can turn into a life with little sleep, an unhealthy lifestyle, plus a lot of stress and heartache from certain situations, but the warm, happy and rewarding feeling you experience when you help people tends to outweigh the bad times. No matter how much you love your job, even though they require responsibility, pets can be a fantastic method of de-stressing yourself. Petting a dog releases a happy hormone in our brains called endorphins and of course, it keeps the canine happy. They provide a great method of company, which is perfect if you are at home alone after a long night shift. A good-sized dog offers a great method of protection for nurses who live alone. They also make a fantastic exercise buddy and the care you need to provide for your pet (as long as they are healthy) is a step back compared to the care you need to provide to human patients. There are so many rules you need to follow, whereas the rules of your own pet’s care are made up by yourself. 

What is the Best Pet for You?

As mentioned previously, a dog is a needy animal, which requires a lot of time, training, patience and care. If you don’t think you are capable of this, you feel like this level of responsibility is too advanced and/or getting help from people close to you or an animal care service isn’t an option, then you may need to consider adopting another kind of pet. A cat can be a great option. They use the outdoors or a litter tray to go to the bathroom, making them tidy and easy to clean up after. They are solitary animals, so can be left alone for a long time and feel okay. You can provide them with loads of entertainment within the home and you can install a cat flap to allow them to come and go as they please. 

If you aren’t a cat person, then maybe think about getting a small, fluffy herbivore. Rabbits and guinea pigs can take a lot of patience and time to win over, but the love they show after you put in the time is so rewarding and super cut. These animals are extremely sociable with their own kind and although finding a pair who are 100% compatible can be tricky, it is so worth it, especially if you are a nurse and don’t spend as much time with them as they need. Again, as long as their basic needs are met, any animals will adapt to this kind of lifestyle if they are raised or brought into one. 

Although owning a pet, especially a dog, as a nurse can be hard, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. There are many services that can offer pet care while you are at working if you can’t get someone close you to look after them. They can be hard work, but pet ownership does come with some great benefits.

Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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