Everything you need to know about owning a pet before you buy
Picture the scene. You have just moved into your own home and the first thing you plan to do – before you have even purchased all your furniture – is browsing online listings and get yourself a pet. Maybe you had one in your family home that you now miss terribly or were never allowed one when you were younger. Now it is your decision, you desperately want a dog. However, this decision is a huge one and not to be taken lightly. A pet at home, that was primarily looked after by your parents, will not be the same as having one now.
Owning a pet can be rewarding and offer huge benefits; companionship, unconditional love, even lowering stress. But, with owning a pet also comes a lot of responsibility that will solely be yours! Whether you opt for a four-legged or a winged friend, they will require a considerable amount of time, money and commitment, so there are a few things you need to know and think about first.
- “A dog is for life not just for Christmas,” but still many animals end up abandoned when the novelty of having them wears off for the owner and they realise they can’t actually commit to them. Depending on the life expectancy of the pet you choose you are signing yourself up to a huge commitment. In many cases, especially with the animals that need the most attention, this could be 15 years or more! They require food, water, exercise, care and companionship every day of every year. You need to know that after a few months you aren’t going to decide that you no longer want the pet you were once so desperate for.
- Animals are particularly demanding when you first get them, as they are young and still learning. This is the time when most owners think the animal is not for them and they can’t cope. Are you willing and do you have the time and patience to get through this stage? Are you prepared for the fact that they could destroy furniture or soil the carpet?
- Pets, and especially dogs, are very expensive. Once you have bought them and all you need to go with them, this is just the beginning of the expense. Can you financially afford to own a pet? Does your income cover feeding them as well as yourself? You will need to continue to buy food and pay vet bills, which in some cases could be thousands of pounds!
- You will need to consider the pet in everything you do. How long are they going to be left alone for? Gone are the days you can just disappear for a last minute holiday or day trip, because you need to make sure your pet is looked after when you aren’t there. This could also be another expense!
- You need to think carefully about the pet that will suit you, is it a goldfish that will need little attention or are you in a position to get a dog that will need a lot of attention? If you are out at work all day and can’t get back to let your dog out then it is probably not the right choice for you at the moment.
- It is important to consider where you live. A small tenth floor flat in the centre of a busy city is probably not the best place to have a Great Dane, however, it is a perfectly good location for a hamster. If you are renting, a pet could also restrict where you can move to or add extra costs to your deposit.
Many animals that are purchased as a pet will go on to become one of your family members. So, with all this in mind, whether you choose to add a hamster, fish, cat or dog to your home, as long as you have the time and money to commit to them, they will enrich your lives and offer a wealth of benefits to you.
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