Every child grows up either with a dog or dreaming of the day they will have a dog. And if it’s not a dog, it’s a cat, a hamster, or even a goldfish. But sometimes having a pet is just not an option. Here are a few things to consider before getting a pet.

Allergies: It’s important to know whether or not you or anyone living in your home has any allergies to animals. And it’s best to know before you adopt or buy— there are tests that your doctors can run. It’s never a good situation for the pet owner(s) and animal if the animal has to either be given back or given to someone else due to an allergy. This will put a lot of stress on the animal being moved around too much and it can also cause harm to the people involved, as it is always difficult letting go of a pet. If someone in the home has an allergy you may have to stick with goldfish and hermit crabs. However, there are certain types of dogs that are considered hypoallergenic.

Travel: Do you work long hours? Do you travel often for work? Will there be anyone home when you aren’t? These are all important questions to consider before adopting a pet. These questions don’t apply as much to pets such as goldfish and hamsters (even though they still require care), but are extremely important if you want a cat or dog.

Time: Do you have the time for a pet? Consider the questions above such as work hours and traveling, but also if you have the time between having a social life, taking care of your children, bringing them to soccer practice or dance class, etc. If you think you have the time then you must also consider that there are different breeds of dogs that require more attention and work than others. The same goes for different types of cats. Be sure you are completely aware of the work that goes into the type of dog or cat you want.

Cost: The cost of a pet goes well beyond the initial adoption or breeder fee. It’s important that you consider the lifetime cost of owning a pet and whether or not you can afford an animal. Again this more pertains to dogs and cats rather than hamster and fish. There’s the cost of food, grooming, veterinary care, toys and walkers. And the costs will vary depending on the breeds of cats and dogs. It’s also important that you save for emergency vet visits, as they can be completely unpredictable and very trying at the time. Having money saved up will take a small bit of the stress away.

A pet is a large responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. You are caring for another life and the adoption or purchase of any animal should be well thought out and something you are prepared for. If that sounds like you then go out and find the pet that’s perfect for you and your family.

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Working in your attic may not be a chore you perform frequently but it is one that must be done on occasion. Whether you use yours as a storage space or are performing an energy assessment in your home, safely accessing your attic should be a top priority. Below are some tips you can practice the next time you need to go up into the attic to ensure a safe working experience.

Before you begin working make sure you have dressed appropriately. Wear a long sleeve shirt tucked into pants and gloves to avoid materials sticking to your skin which can cause irritation. You will also want to wear a dust mask and protective eyewear to avoid inhaling airborne fibers or other harmful debris that could be airborne in your attic. Attics can house mold and mildew among other hazardous materials that can bring you harm and/or make you sick when not properly protected against them.

If your attic requires a fold-down ladder to access it check that the ladder is safe to support your weight. Look for any missing or loose screws that are intended to hold the ladder together and tighten/replace them before using it to get into your attic. You will be climbing up and down it as you work so you want to make sure that it will be safe to use. Adding a railing around the opening of your attic access will also add extra safety measures against falling.

If your attic is unfinished and/or has potentially unsupportive flooring consider installing a safer floor by laying plywood down. Add walk boards or temporary platforms to an unfinished attic that doesn’t require permanent flooring. Always be cautious of where you step to avoid stepping on wires, ductwork or areas lacking trusses and joists. This precaution will save you from accidentally breaking through the ceiling which will put you at risk of serious harm and some major repairs. You will also want to be aware of any roofing nails poking down or old faulty wiring that requires repair.

Be sure to check for signs of any animals that may have decided to move in over the winter months. If you do discover unwelcome tenants take the proper course of action by hiring a professional to rid your attic of them safely for both you and them. Some animals, like bats, may be protected by federal law so you will want to rid your house of them responsibly.

When you are finished working in the attic for the day be sure to change and wash your clothes to avoid spreading hazardous debris over the rest of your house. Before you begin working spread an old sheet under the hatch and vacuum the surrounding area afterward for easy clean up.

Attic safety practices are crucial to avoid harming yourself and preventing damage to your home. With some simple preparations and an active awareness, you can get chores done in your attic effectively and safely!

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