Why Your Nursing Schedule Shouldn’t Keep You from Getting a Pet

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The three best pets for nurses

Nurses work punishing hours. Sometimes it can be hard to have a personal life, let alone to be responsible for another creature. Still, especially if you live alone, there can be significant therapeutic benefits to having a pet. Even spending time watching aquariums and fish tanks can lower blood pressure and heart rate and improve your mental well-being. That’s why we’ve put some thought into the best pets for nurses.

Even though your nursing schedule shouldn’t keep you from getting a pet, you should carefully consider whether you can provide a good home for the animal you choose. For instance, before getting a dog make sure that you can afford daycare or good dog walker, so that your canine companion doesn’t have to be alone for hours. Dogs aren’t the only option, though, and some pets can thrive even as you work your longest shifts. Below are four animals that make good pets for nurses.

A good pet for nurses who are in it for the long haul

A tortoise is a quirky and endearing pet. They are long-lived and need an owner who can provide a comfortable habitat (tortoises need a surprising amount of space to roam, heat, and humidity). The initial investment in a terrarium and all the related equipment could run between six and twelve hundred dollars. However, once they are happily installed in your home, a tortoise is a surprisingly low-maintenance pet.

One thing nurses should know before becoming tortoise parents is that, even though they’ll be fine for the length of the average shift, tortoises can’t be left alone for days. Tortoises need a clean home and fresh food daily, including vegetables and live insects. They also will need an annual visit with a veterinarian. And, before buying a tortoise you should decide if you’re up for the commitment. These little guys can live for twenty-five to one-hundred years!

An easy pet for nurses who want to hear a friendly voice

Birds are one of the best pets for nurses. They are cheerful, fun to observe, and extremely low maintenance. They also have unique personalities and can fill a home with sociable chirping. However, it’s important to pick the right species. Birds can suffer a great deal if they are left alone in their cages without exercise or company. They are intelligent, active creatures with psychological needs as well as physical ones.

Although birds can feed themselves, they do need daily fresh food and water, and their cages must be cleaned regularly as well. The Association of Avian Veterinarians also recommends that not only should bird cages be made as large as possible, some species of bird should be given exercise outside their cages as well, flying freely through a safe area of the owner’s home. Some species, like budgies, need a great deal of human interaction and out-of-cage time to be happy. It’s important to research the species an decide what works best for your schedule.

The best pet for nurses who want to cuddle

While birds and tortoises aren’t asocial, sometimes it’s nice to have a pet you can actually curl up with on the couch. That’s why cats remain such a popular choice for nurses. They are able to handle their own elimination and feeding needs, and don’t need to be taken out to exercise. Despite their independent streak, many cats are quite friendly and enthusiastically greet their owners after time apart.

Cats may not make the best pet for travel nurses, as they are often unhappy and stressed travelers who dislike finding themselves in new places. And, if you are going to work extremely long hours, leaving home for a day or more at a time, you might consider getting another cat to keep the first company. However, one of the reasons cats make great pets for nurses is that, with the right home environment, they can be happy alone for long periods of time.

A good pet for nurses who need flexibility

Looking for a calm slow-moving pet who wants nothing more from you than a timely dinner and a heat lamp? Bearded dragons need little more than an appropriately outfitted habitat and the right diet. Unlike some other reptiles the bearded dragon won’t grow too large, only about two feet, but they are large enough that you can handle them without much fear of causing injury.

Each bearded dragon has its own personality, and you’ll be able to get to know yours well over its relatively long life-span. They can live eight or more years in captivity. It’s long enough to bond, and maybe even to try to leash train your bearded dragon, something this species handles well.

The best pet for a nurse is the one that makes you happy

Lots of nurses are pet parents, and even those with dogs and other sociable creatures learn to make things work. After all, if you weren’t great at caring you wouldn’t have found your way into nursing. So, the best pet for a nurse is always the one that makes her hardest days just a little easier.

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