Dog_70Last week, I wrote about some of the health benefits that can result from pet ownership.

While these benefits are many and varied, and getting a new pet can be very exciting, there are lots of things to think about before choosing the right pet for you. A responsible pet owner will want to keep their pet friendly, healthy and happy so you will need to think very carefully about how best to do this.

Before making the decision to take on a pet, you must consider your lifestyle:

  • How much time do you have to devote to its care?
  • Do you have the appropriate indoor and outdoor space for your pet’s needs?
  • If you travel or are away a lot who will care for your pet?
  • Do you have children, and if so how will your pet fit in with them?
  • Are you looking for a pet that is independent and requires less human contact or one that is affectionate and enjoys human company?
  • Are you in good health and able to care for a pet?

Dogs will require a high degree of input in terms of exercise and time although they will often be very giving in the love and affection they offer in return. Cats, while still requiring commitment, may be more independent and may be better suited to some lifestyles. Rabbits can make great pets but can take careful management. Rodents such as hamsters and gerbils can be great “starter pets” without a high financial input.

You will also need to consider the average lifespan of the pet you are taking on; while some small animals may only live for a few years, cats for example can easily live to the age of 20. Whichever animal you choose, it’s a serious and usually long-term commitment. Think about the future and whether the pet you have chosen will still suit you in the years to come.

You will also need to consider the costs of taking on a pet. There will be initial set up costs – the cost of purchasing your pet, bedding or outdoor accommodation and other essentials such as collars and leads and toys. There are one-off costs such as neutering and microchipping, annual costs such as booster vaccinations and monthly costs such as food, flea and worming treatments, pet insurance, bedding etc.

If you consider that dog ownership may be suitable for you and your family, next week, I intend to touch on some of the matters you may need to consider when preparing for a new puppy.