Getting a new Pet? 10 things to remember
It can be very exciting to get a new pet, be it a dog, cat, hamster or even a snake. but there are several things that you must carefully consider before giving a home to a new member of the family. Taking time to think things through and carefully look at the pros and cons will help to ensure that your new pet becomes a joy to own and not a chore and a drain on your energy and resources.
Do you have the time to give to your pet to make sure they are well socialised, cleaned out regularly and exercised as necessary? If you work all day, come home tired and then have to devote time to, for instance walking the dog or socialising your rat, are you up for that? Would you consider the time spent with your pet to be a chore?
You need to consider the life span of your pet and realise that a pet is for life. A dog can live to 16 years old or more, a cat to 20 and a parrot to 50+!
3. Space and Environment
Carefully consider how much space you have at home and, if your new pet needs a cage, where you will put it so that it will be out of direct sunlight and draughts. Having a large dog in a small flat without a garden will just not work and will not be fair on you or the dog. The better the environment for your pet, the happier they, and ultimately you, will be.
Can you afford to buy your new pet initially and then ensure that you can afford to feed it a good diet, pay for vets bills, vaccinations and insurance. Over the lifetime of a dog you could spend as much as £15000+!
Consider what will happen as your pet grows. For instance, buying an 18 inch snake might seem like a good idea at the time but it could grow into a five foot one!
You will need to carefully think about who will look after your pet when you go away. Whilst some dogs and cats don't mind being boarded (consider the costs here too) others may be too nervous. If you are planning on taking your dog abroad to Europe, consider the logistics of the pet passport. If you have reptiles, your neighbour might not be quite so keen on feeding them live insects! And your pet bird might not like a change of environment either. Thinking these things through before you get your new pet will save a lot of hassle later and will allow you to take a holiday without worry.
7. Family Life
Will your pet fit into your family? Consider whether it is safe for children and how your child may react to the new pet. If you feel your child will be too boisterous with a new kitten or puppy, wait until they are older as a boisterous child can make a cat or dog nervous for life. Teaching your child consideration and discussing the way they should behave before you introduce a new pet into the family will be vital for success and happiness.
Consider the costs of insuring your pet against illness and start when you first buy your pet. In addition, make sure that you have insurance to guard against theft, especially if you have a rare breed animal or reptile. Many insurance companies offer a reward as part of the insurance package and help with costs of finding lost pets. Microchipping your pet where possible is also a good idea.
It might seem macabre but consider what would happen if you die and don't have anyone to look after your pet. Consider leaving provision for your faithful pet in your will. Also, who would look after your pet should you live alone and need to go into hospital?
10. Noise and neighbours
Finally, you will need to think about your neighbours. Disputes over dogs barking and cats fouling your neighbour's flower beds can escalate if you are not careful. Consider how you might tackle this should it happen. Whilst you can't stop a cat wandering, you can stop a dog from incessantly barking through training classes. In addition, consider smell and pest control if necessary, e.g. aviaries. Your neighbour will be within his rights to report any concerns to your local environmental health department or dog warden so be aware of this.
Hopefully, we have given you food for thought here. It is so important to consider these things before you bring your new pet into your home. There is nothing worse than finding that it is not working and then realising you have to find them a new home or give them to a rescue centre!
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