Whilst animals are often considered extra members of the family, it's worth weighing up the pros and cons of becoming a pet owner before making any decisions. Getting a dog, a cat or a small animal isn't as easy as it looks. There's a lot to consider before buying or rescuing one.
A few things to consider:
- Can I afford the vet bills, the food costs and any other expenses
- Am I able to care for a pet for as long as it may need
- Are you at home often enough? - People with demanding jobs and busy lives should consider whether they can dedicate enough time to a pet
- Can you exercise the pet and satisfy its' needs - Do you have the energy and inclination to walk a dog. This needs to be more than once a day
- Can you have a pet where you live - Rented accommodation often has strict regulations regarding pets
- Do you have the time and patience to train a pet
- Will you remember to get a pet regularly flead and wormed and vaccinated each year
- Do you have the time to settle in a new dog or cat
- Do you have the space for a dog
- Is everybody in the family happy about getting a dog or cat
- Will a new pet fit in with the rest of the family
Dogs are very different to cats. They require a lot of exercise, a lot of training and need access to outside space in order to relieve themselves.
Choosing the breed of dog you want is also very hard as there are many things to bare in mind:
- Do you want a large, medium or small dog
- Consider the dogs coat - for example, a non shedding dog. Dogs with long coats need to be groomed regularly to prevent matting, whereas a short coated dog may need less grooming
- How easy is the breed to handle - a German Shepherd would be much stronger on the lead than a miniature Schnauzer
Different dogs have varied life spans, some live longer than others but don't let that put you off certain breeds.
Most dogs love attention and will be loyal companions - it's almost like having a a child that need constant attention. Nurturing the dog and training it how YOU want will define and shape their behaviour. All dogs should be microchipped, neutered and vaccinated.
REMEMBER - all dogs are different. Just like people have different traits and personalities, dogs are very similar.
Cats are very independent and although some people keep their cat indoors, it is beneficial they have access to outside space to roam and explore. Because of their exploratory nature, all cats should be neutered and microchipped as they could easily end up pregnant or go missing.
Like dogs there are hundreds of breeds of cat and whilst some are pedigree, the most common house cat would be either the domestic short hair, domestic long hair or semi-long hair.
Before you can book holidays and weekends away, as a responsible pet owner you need to consider the welfare of your cat or dog.
- Where is the pet going to stay?
- Will it be safe
- Can I afford a pet sitter/boarding kennels/cattery
Do lots of research - visit kennels and catteries before booking your pet in. Interview possible sitters and walkers before leaving and most importantly, make sure you are HAPPY before you go.
Like cats and dogs, small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters need just as much care and attention. Despite not needing vaccinations like cats and dogs do, small animals still require all the maintenance that comes with being a responsible owner. Vet appointments are still important, as is grooming and general well-being.