Choosing the right Cuddly or Scaly Companion for You
Getting a pet is one of the most exciting times for a family. The choice of which type to get, buying the accessories to prepare your home for their arrival, choosing a name… Selecting the correct pet to suit your family and your lifestyle is however, vital. The charity PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) recommends using the acronym PETS – place, exercise, time and spend to pick the right animal for you.
First up is place – all pets need space to play and exercise, dogs in particular! Cats also enjoy exercise outside and even rabbits and guinea pigs need access to a large run or garden. Next to consider is exercise – are you the type of person who enjoys long walks all year round, or do you tend to spend most of your time inside? Dogs need regular walks and will want to play off the lead whenever it is safe to do so. The amount of exercise they need will depend on their age, breed and health. Dalmatians, for example, require regular intense exercise as they were originally bred to run behind carriages whereas a dachshund will be happy with a short on lead walk and playing in your house or garden.
How much time you have available is a key part of which pet is right for you. Many pets are sociable and love your company. Dogs shouldn’t be left for longer than 4 hours a day so if you’re out of the house for the majority of the day, it would be unfair to leave your pet. If your heart is set on a furry companion, explore whether you have any friends or neighbours who would be willing (and who you would trust) to call round your house to play with or take your dog for a walk. Professional dog walkers will also collect your pooch and take them for a walk with other dogs, but this does come at a price and would need to be factored into your decision when choosing your dog.
Lastly is the cost. It is not only the initial cost of getting a pet which you need to consider. Food, equipment, toys, flea and worm treatments, pet insurance, unexpected vet bills – these costs can all up considerably over time particularly if they have unforeseen health problems. Once you have decided whether you’re getting a dog, a cat, a bearded lizard… research as much as you can about the species and the breed. Try to find real-life experiences of people who already own that pet and seek advice from a vet.
Whatever you decide, each home and each owner is different. Do your research and make sure you can provide a happy, healthy life for your pet before you commit to purchasing one!