If you love nursing, then being a travel nurse can be a wonderful way to earn a living. The pay is excellent, you get free housing in places you’ve never been before, and you have the chance to meet a lot of new people.
But it can get lonely, too, can’t it? Going from one place to the next, one job to another, and one new client after another can weigh on you emotionally, and it can take a toll on your personal life.
That’s why so many travel nurses are opting to bring along an animal companion.
You may have never thought about it before, but if you find you’re getting a bit lonesome on the road, consider a pet as a travel roomie. We’ve compiled a list of the three best pets for travel nurses.
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Best Pets for Travel Nurses
Here’s our list along with their pros and cons.
Cats are wonderful pets, travel or no. In fact, recent statistics show that Americans actually own more cats than dogs for the first time ever (source).
And cats are especially good pets for travel nurses because, among other things, they’re low maintenance.
After all, as a travel nurse, you’ve got enough on your plate—you don’t want to have to continually worry about a travel companion’s needs.
1. Affordable: Cats require nominal expense, considering they’re living beings that need you to care for them every single day.
You won’t have to take your cat to the groomer very often, and they require very few toys. In fact, one of a cat’s most cherished toys is extremely affordable: yarn!
2. Low maintenance: Your feline roomie has her own exercise routine, so you don’t have to make sure she gets out of the house every day for a walk.
She’s also fiercely independent, so there’s no guilt about leaving her alone during your shift.
Plus, cats sleep up to 15 hours a day, so you don’t have to worry what she’s doing when you’re away.
And, of course, she does her business in a litter box, so there’s another reason you don’t have to walk her, and you can leave her alone.
3. Quiet: Cats make virtually no noise, which is why many more landlords permit them and not other pets. You won’t have any trouble with new neighbors about noise levels from your little kitty.
4. Clean: Because cats groom themselves, you won’t need to take Kitty to the groomers often. Many experts say about every eight weeks is good.
5. Therapeutic: You already know that having a kitty cat around can alleviate stress, but did you know that the purr of a cat has been proven to be therapeutic to humans?
A study conducted in 2006 by Fauna Communications Research Institute discovered that the frequency of a cat’s purr sounds at the same frequency level needed for human pain relief, wound healing, and other restorative therapies (source).
1. Litter box: You probably already guessed the biggest problem with owning a cat can be the disgusting litter box.
If you choose to travel with a cat, you really must provide a litter box and, of course, Kitty won’t clean it herself.
2. Shedding: Cats can do an awful lot of shedding of their hair, so be prepared to clean it up off furniture, carpets, etc.
3. Allergies: Millions of people have cat allergies, and you may be one of them. Of course, as a travel nurse, you’ll likely be able to get a prescription that will help you manage.
It may not be the obvious choice, but if you’re a travel nurse who has a puppy dog, you might be surprised at how good a globetrotting buddy your pup can be.
Dogs are like family, so a travel nurse bringing a family member along with her on the road is almost a no-brainer!
Or maybe you’re considering adopting a dog for your travels.
If so, it’s important to know that some breeds make better travel companions than others. The American Kennel Club can help you decide (source).
1. Uplifting: Dogs always seem to know what you need. Their love is pure and unconditional, and from the moment you walk in the door, they show it.
Being a nurse is challenging, and being a travel nurse can be even more so.
But no matter how taxing your day has been, your pup has the power to always put a smile on your face from the moment you come home.
2. Exercise: Getting enough exercise outside of the hospital can be a struggle for travel nurses.
After a long shift, your first impulse may just be to plop on the couch and veg.
But your dog needs a walk, and that might be all you need at the end of a trying day—to get out, stretch, and get a little exercise.
3. Socialization: Isolation can end up being a problem for travel nurses. It can be tough to make new friends when you move from one town and job to another.
Your dog can help you break the ice with the people in your new neighborhood, however transient it may be.
Finding a dog park, or even just taking Fido for a walk around the block, can help you strike up conversations and get to know folks a little along the way.
You may even make a new friend or two.
4. Safety: Dogs provide security. Even the bark of a small dog can deter criminals from bothering you inside or outside of your new housing.
Plus, when you’re out walking a dog, you look like a local, which makes scammers less likely to take advantage of your transient status.
1. Cleanup: Dogs have to do their business somewhere, but they don’t use litter boxes.
That means you either have to put pee pads or papers down for them somewhere in your new housing, or you must walk them.
With pee pads or papers, you’re the one who has to clean that up. And if you choose to walk your dog, you may be too tired at the end of the day to do so.
Also, long shifts can make it hard for Fido to wait long enough, so you may see the occasional accident inside your home.
2. Noise: It’s a fact—dogs bark. There are ways around this, though.
Check out the American Kennel Club website to find out about the breeds that do the least barking or about anti-bark collars.
3. Maintenance: Dogs aren’t the most low-maintenance pets, and some can require a lot more maintenance than others.
They bark; they need to be walked; they can make a mess—if any of this bothers you, a dog as a travel companion may not be the answer for you.
Hamsters—they’re not just for kids anymore! Believe it or not, more and more American adults who want pets are choosing hamsters these days, and there are many good reasons.
Hamsters are inexpensive, funny, and very low maintenance.
Alright so that video actually didn’t have a lot to do with travelling with a hamster, I just thought it was funny. This next video actually has to do with travelling with a hamster.
1. Sweet and entertaining: One of the funnest things about hamsters is that you can take them out of their little cages and pet them.
In fact, since hamsters tend to bond only with one or two people, a travel nurse can make a best little buddy of the hamster that only has eyes for her!
Plus, the behavior of hamsters—walking on their treadmills, gnawing at dinner, or even resting—can be fun and fascinating to observe.
2. Inexpensive: Everything for hamsters is very affordable, so travel nurses don’t have to break the bank caring for these little guys.
3. Low maintenance: Hamsters really could not be more low maintenance.
First, if you’re a travel nurse who does a lot of driving, you’ll have no worries if your hamster rides up front since your new roomie will have a room of his own—his cage!
Check out Chewy.com for tips on traveling with your hamster safely (source).
Also, you don’t have to take a hamster for walks—you’ll equip his little cage with a treadmill, and that means he can walk whenever he pleases.
As the hamsters-as-pets industry is huge, there is a wide assortment available of toys and care items to choose from that are specific to hamsters.
Plus, you only have to make sure your hamster has a little food and clean water each day, and cleaning his cage is only done once a week.
Finally, you can leave a hamster alone all day long while you’re working your shift, and you never have to worry about her; she’ll find plenty to do on her own!
4. Clean: Hamsters are super clean. A hamster tends to use just one little corner area of her cage as a potty. That means, of course, that the remaining areas of the cage are quite clean.
1. Nocturnal: Hamsters are nocturnal animals; they’ll sleep most of the day and be up most of the night.
If you can stand a little noise from your travel pal through the night, or you can put him in another room, you won’t mind his nocturnal nature so much.
2. Bad eyesight: Hamsters have poor eyesight. Because of this, they don’t take to strangers well.
You’ll need to acclimate your new little buddy to you slowly so that when you put your hand or fingers through his cage, he won’t bite you.
And be careful of allowing strangers to get near him or his cage. Hamster bites can be very painful.
3. Short lifespan: Hamsters don’t live anywhere near as long as cats or dogs do. The typical lifespan of a hamster is two to three years (source).
We hope you found this article helpful on your search for a travel companion. Let us know what you think below and if you know of other pets that would be good for travel nurses.
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Also here are some other good reads about pets for nurses.