Agreeing to take on any pet, big or small, scaly or furry is a big commitment. It is important to recognise the responsibility of owning and caring for an animal, the time they take to keep happy and healthy as well as the financial implications or buying a new friend. So before you go and pick one of these adorable creatures, there are a few things you need to consider:
How much will it cost?
Although not all pets cost a lot to purchase, you must consider the long-term costs such as neutering and housing supplies. You need to make sure you take out a comprehensive insurance petplan and that you can afford the on-going costs of bedding, food, vaccinations and other vet bills. Keep in mind that these costs could double should you decide to buy more than one which is likely in the case of rabbits and hamsters for example.
Where will they live?
A suitable living environment is essential for all pets. Whether you choose to buy a pet that will be happy living amongst your family such as a cat or dog or one that requires it’s own little retreat like a rabbit, hamster or bird. Being active creatures, it is important that they get plenty of exercise every day to stay fit and healthy. What counts as substantial exercise will vary depending on the animal, for example, dogs will need 3 or 4 walks a day whereas cats are happy with a few hours of fresh air with the rest spent asleep on your bed. Keeping them comfortable, warm and dry is part of your responsibility as a pet owner so bare in mind that animals can be messy and destructive. Don’t buy a puppy if you can’t stand the thought of your slippers being chewed!
What should they eat?
Again, this will vary depending on the type of pet you choose to bring into your home. However, whatever the animal, take care to research the type of diet they require as this is vital for their long-term health and issues such as weight control. You may think you’re being kind by giving your dog your left over Sunday roast but it’s not ideal for their health. For more information, visit the RSPCA website.
Will they get on with other pets?
This really depends on what pets you have and their personality. Introducing rabbits to dogs and cats must be done with extreme caution. Rabbits are often frightened of cats and dogs because they are natural predators but if you introduce them carefully earlier on in life, they can learn to tolerate each other and develop friendships. If you are choosing to rehome an animal, the rescue center will be able to advise you on whether they will be suitable for introducing to existing family pets.
* Argos Pet Insurance is just one of many great pet insurance options you can choose from. However, as with all aspects of owning a pet, you must carefully consider the best policy for your needs to avoid any nasty surprises should you need to make a claim.