Have you heard of the old joke that a rock is one of the best pets for nurses? If you don’t see too many articles about pets for nurses, that’s because of the sad fact that it’s hard for busy nurses to take care of pets well.
As you and I know, nurses are very busy and often come home wiped out. Still, this is possibly the very reason why you should think about getting a pet. A pet can help take your mind off work and help you unwind and relax. Studies show that playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
We realize that there are logistics to consider though. So, let’s take a look at possible pets that nurses can take care of.
If you’re a light sleeper or if you work the graveyard shift, then you might want to consider a rabbit. Rabbits are very quiet and hardly make noise. And as long as you leave them food, water, a clean cage, and maybe a toy before you go, they can be left alone while you’re on shift. It’s a good idea to get a pair though so they could keep each other company.
Not too many people know this about rabbits but rabbits have distinct personalities and they bond closely with their owners. Some are shy and timid while some are more social and rambunctious. They’ll recognize your voice and may even follow you from room to room and jump on your lap.
When you get home from work, you can let them out for some exercise. They’re fun pets to have.
Lastly, rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. They’re immaculately clean animals especially as they mature.
Cats might be stereotyped as snobby little animals but cats are actually as affectionate as dogs. They’re also one of the best animal companions for women. A Swiss study found that keeping a pet cat is the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner.
Compared to rabbits and dogs, cats don’t need as much exercise. They still need interaction and stimuli though so if you’re gone the whole day, it would be good for somebody to come in for a bit to play with the cat. Or, you can get a pair so they can amuse each other.
Now here’s something interesting. Results from a survey showed that cat owners tended to be smarter than dog owners. Nope, cats don’t make you smarter. It’s just that cat owners tend to work longer hours and so gravitate towards getting a cat rather than a dog.
Also Read: 15 Stress Relieving Hobbies For Nurses (#13 is Unusual!)
Now birds CAN be left alone the whole day provided that you leave them with food, water, and a nice clean cage. You can also put up swings and other toys to keep them stimulated. Some bird species that can entertain themselves for the better part of the day are finches, canaries, doves, budgies, and budgies.
Bigger birds though can be prone to shrieking so make sure to do your research well. Birds have been said to be more destructive to property than a properly trained cat or dog.
We were snooping in nurse forums and came across a nurse who kept a hedgehog for a pet. We had to laugh at his comments. “My hedgehog is a maniac. Sleeps all day and goes nuts at night. Some are docile and low maintenance, others are not.” Also, he adds, “Mine will not use her wheel. She will not stop trying to break free until she gets out, and then she raises hell around the house. She has been stuck in literally everything.”
Ask any person who’s lived with hedgehogs for awhile and they’ll tell you that these animals are very shy and timid. It takes a long time before it bonds with its human. Some don’t even come around at all. And then there’s also having to clean their wheel which is usually covered with poop.
Still, on the other hand, hedgehogs have very distinct personalities. No two are alike and some are oddly friendly and affectionate. Pet owners of hedgehogs love their little critters though and some will say that rabbits are even more high maintenance, or they would never trade their beloved hedgehog for another pet.
If you want an unusual pet and would love the challenge and surprise, a hedgehog might be for you.
4. Pet Mouse
If you’ve had a mouse as a pet when you were a child or seen a lot of Disney movies, a pet mouse might appeal to you. Mice are VERY smart and make good pets for nurses. They bond easily with humans and develop a tame temperement. Still, they can be very entertaining, playful, and amusing.
So long as you give them enough food and water, mice can be left the whole day. Mice are hoarders so they will only eat when hungry.
Urine from males give off an unpleasant odor. And while nurses are used to such smells and bodily fluids, you might want to consider a female mouse as they don’t give off any smells.
Also Read: 5 Minute Workout Exercises for Busy Nurses
Compared to cats and dogs, fishes are relatively easy to take care of. They are confined in their aquariums and need a minimum of food, clean water, and space to swim freely. It’s easy to get tempted to postpone that regular tank cleaning which makes the bulk of fish care but to keep your fish pets from going belly up, you’ll have to do it.
While they’re relatively easy to maintain, they’re not as affectionate as other pets and you might miss the satisfaction of a solid furry hug.
Dogs are affectionate, loyal, and loving. Studies have shown that just stroking a dog can help reduce cortisol and improve mood and overall health. No matter how tired or stressed you are from work, that ball of fur will be so happy to see you that it will surely improve your energy levels and mood.
Because of a nurse’s busy schedule, it’s best to choose a dog that is low maintenance in terms of grooming. You’d also need to research for breeds that don’t crave constant human companionship. And if you live in a condo or apartment in the city, you’ll want to avoid larger breeds.
Some breeds that are ideal for busy owners are the bulldog, French bulldog, chihuahuas, and pugs. A pug is a lazy-type dog and can do with just 15 minutes of exercise in a day. Some Frenchies, in the meantime, are happy to relax all day in their favorite spot in your home.
Whichever dog breed you choose, don’t forget to do your homework and find out their living and eating habits. French bulldogs, for example, need high quality dog food to keep them in the best condition.
Also Read: 10 Healthiest Breakfast Ideas for Busy Nurses
1. Pet Rock
You might be surprised but pet rocks need a lot of care and attention. A pet rock has a high degree of psychosocial needs. Once you get past the challenges of getting to know your pet rock, the rewards are quite great though.
Pet rocks, once acclimatized to their owners form very solid bonds and remain loyal for the rest of their long lives. Unlike hamsters or mice, pet rocks have longevity that rival the Galapagos turtle (that lived 170 years).
If you are highly sensitive and attuned to the needs of your pet, you might be the ideal human for a pet rock.
- Go to animal rescues and shelters rather than buying your animal from a pet store.
- If you work long hours like 12 hour shifts, consider getting a pair of whatever animal you’re getting. This will give them their own companion while you’re away. A previously bonded pair is good and some shelters would only consider giving away a pair.
- It is best if you have someone who can regularly come in while you’re at work to provide some quick companionship for your pet. Some nurses have a family member, a neighbor, or even a pet sitter looking after their pet while they’re away at work.
Nurses, do YOU keep pets? Did you pick up a couple of ideas for pets for nurses? Share your stories and advice with us on our FB page!