BudgieCredit: dee

Owning a pet can be wonderful. You provide it with a loving home and a welcoming environment and you are equally rewarded with love and affection from your animal in return. More people than ever own a furry friend of some sort from the usual cats and dogs right through to fish or even horses. However, before you rush out to the store and make an impulse buy, it is far better to be prepared for what owning a pet  will really involve[3]. Have you thought about the cost involved, the space needed or have you conducted any specific research into your choice of animal?

Depending on your lifestyle, there may be certain pets that will suit your needs and habits far better than others. In this article I will cover some of these central topics before you make a final decision on which pet you may like to own. Always consider visiting a shelter as well as a pet shop because that way you would be giving an unwanted animal a much needed home too.

KittensCredit: chelle

1. Needs

The first thing you should consider when looking to get a pet is both your needs and the needs of the pet you are interested in owning. Why do you want to get a pet? For example, are you looking for a companion or a pet which would be independent a lot of the time? Do you have time for a high maintenance animal or do you think that you would prefer one which requires very little grooming and is easier to maintain? These are important questions because you need to factor in how owning a pet will change your lifestyle and habits in the long run.

Once you have decided on some of the basic points above, then this will help you to whittle down your choices to discover a pet which matches your lifestyle and needs more closely. However, it is often more complex than simply choosing an animal. Therefore, consider the four points which I discuss below as well when trying to make up your mind.

PuppyCredit: Tatankalyotanka












2. Travel

It is very important to consider how frequently you travel when purchasing a pet. If you are always away on business trips then you would not have time to walk a dog twice a day or to feed fish daily. If however you are always available in the mornings and evenings then perhaps a dog or cat would suit your lifestyle. This is not only relevant for dogs needing a walk but also so that you can be in to feed your pets twice or three times daily.

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Everyone tries to have a holiday from time to time and pet owners are not any different. Think about if you have neighbors, family or friends who could help you out in these scenarios and if they could look after and feed your pet whilst you are away. If you do not have local family or friends then research local animals centers and the costs. This may help you decide more clearly what you would do in a holiday situation with your animal. 

HorseCredit: ferry11













3. Cost

There is no doubt that deciding to own a pet is going to cost money. However, the financial cost of keeping a pet can vary considerably. For example, keeping fish will naturally cost less than owning a horse. Consider the equipment you may need to buy for your animal as well as the housing that you may need.

Do you need to buy a cage and if so how big should it be? From a dog kennel to a cat basket, to a hamster cage or a rabbit’s hutch, the cost will vary and you will need to factor this in before you make a final decision on which pet you would like to buy.

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4. Space

It is vital that you consider the space you have available to keep an animal. If you are looking to keep a cat or fish then this is perhaps less necessarily. Cats being very independent creatures will often do most of their exploring outside at night time. However, you will still need to find the room to keep items for your pet. From a fish tank for fish or other aquatic animals to a cat basket and food bowls and litter trays in your home, where would you put these items? Where will your pet sleep and where will you put their spare bedding, cage or toys? (If you are currently renting your home or flat then you will also need to make sure that you have permission to keep a pet from the landlord first).

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Do you have any outdoor spaces for your animal to run around in and play? Do you own expensive furnishings which you would get upset about being chewed or ruined? Imagine the pet living in your home. Do you have any exposed wires or cables on the floor? Are there any sharp or dangerous objects lying around? Is food stored safely out of reach?

Depending on the specific pet you are going to purchase, try not to place any delicate ornaments or lampshades too close to the edge of shelves or on bookcases because they may get knocked off easily. You almost have to ‘pet-proof’ your home and certainly the main areas in which your pet may live.

FishCredit: duane_j











5. Research

Lastly, researching more about your animal will not only mean that you can be a better informed owner, it will also enrich your appreciation for your pet. Perhaps you wish to understand more about their origins or the way in which they have evolved? Why not discover their history and understand how long their life span is. This is something especially important to consider when factoring an animal into your life and daily routine.

Research the temperament of different dog breeds if you are looking to get a dog and are unsure of which one to choose. Look up the food requirements of your pet and their nutritional needs so that you can feed it a healthy and balanced diet. What toys might your animal be interested in playing with? Do they need regular visits to the vet? If you are looking for a rabbit then consider how long haired rabbits will shed more hair and will be more high maintenance to keep, whereas short haired breeds will be easier and require less grooming.

I hope that these five short tips can help to provide a little bit of assistance in your search for picking the right pet for you and your lifestyle.