What you need to know before getting a pet?
Updated: Feb 20
I love animals! Growing up we always had animals in our home. At one stage we basically had a farm with, ducks, geese, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, finches, parrots , not forgetting the dogs and cats. Growing up with animals was wonderful. My mother believed that children should grow up with animals in the home.
How ever it is very important to get the right pet for your home , family and lifestyle.
I have put together a list of " what you need to know before getting a pet" to insure that you have thought this through properly and can make the best decision.
1. Food: They need to be fed regularly. Animals can’t go to the kitchen and make a sandwich. They rely entirely on their owners for food. Some dogs or cats will have special dietary requirements and may need special Vet food. Some Snakes may need dead baby mice or chickens.
Specialty food gets expensive! If you have a big dog that needs to exercise or is a show dog, you will be spending lots of money on food.
2. They need love and attention. Animals also need attention. they need to be cuddled (not if it’s a fish), patted and stroked. Many animals such as dogs and cats need one on one time with their owners. Some cats like to be left alone but I know of dogs that will howl until their owner gets home. Look at your lifestyle. If you travel a lot a dog wouldn’t be the best pet for you, but fish would survive with your long absences.
3. Special spaces. Where will your pet live and sleep? Aquariums for fish can cost tons of cash to set up. Then there is the upkeep of the aquarium. You need to research what type of housing your animal needs. Do they need an inside area and a large outside area to run and play? Living in an apartment wouldn’t work if you want a miniature horse. Birds would need a cage or Avery so they can stretch their wings.
It is important to understand what type of habitat your pet requires.
Animals that live in aquarium or cages will need to have their habitats cleaned. Do you have the time to clean up their homes and ensure they have clean bedding, saw dust and what ever else they require?
4. Vet Bills, check-ups and Pet insurance. Animals are expensive and often people don’t think about it before they get a pet. Pets need to go to Vets which are animal doctors. Just like humans they need to have yearly check-ups and get vaccinations. If an animal gets ill the special care, they require from a Vet could cost you loads of money. Factor in if you can afford the financial implications of a sick animal. There are Pet Insurance companies that work like medical aid. Often people think this isn’t necessary but having Pet Insurance will save you a lot of stress and heartache if your fur child does get ill or injured.
5. Exercise, training and mental stimulation. Just like humans’ animals need exercise and mental stimulation. If an animal gets bored, they may become aggressive, destructive and in severe cases self-mutilate from boredom. Some dogs escape the home and go wandering, which can cause issues with neighbors who don’t want a unknown animal on their property. When choosing a pet and their breed, first look at yourself. Are you able to take an athletic dog for a run every day and play fetch? If you have a horse do you have a few hours a day to ride and train the horse? Are you a couch potato or avid trail runner?
6. Many dog breeds have been bred because they have certain traits. Collies are herders and were bred to herd sheep and other animals. You may see this instinct come out in your dog when children are running around the home. Husky’s were bred to pull sleighs and are working dogs. This breed needs to be put to work. Hounds and hunting dogs such as our Ridgeback, have a strong instinct to hunt and need large spaces to run.
7. Grooming and other special needs. Depending on the breed of your pet they may require extensive grooming and parlor visits. Think about how much time you have to groom your pet, or can you afford to take them for regular parlor visits? Some dogs and cats molt in summer and lose their winter coats. When I brush my cat and he is molting, enough hair comes off him to make another cat. I have purposefully stopped wearing black pants because of his shedding.
8. Do you have small children is this animal safe for young children ? Some pets are not appropriate to have around young children. Toy dog breeds and hamsters are very fragile, and a young child may injure the animal by mistake. Research into the animal and breed is imperative to see how they interact with children.
9. Pets such as dogs and cats are an almost 15-year commitment. Pets are fur children; they are a family member which needs love and attention. Before you go out and Adopt or buy a pet (from a reputable breeder) decide if you can commit to looking after a living, breathing animal for the next 15 years or more.
Too often people get pets, not doing research into the breed and when the animal acts out or the owner gets bored the animal is abandoned. This is cruel! Animal shelters are overrun with abandoned animals. Go visit an animal shelter near you, maybe your fur child is waiting for you.
If you are thinking of immigrating or downsizing your home in the foreseeable future and won’t be able to take the animal with you – don’t get the pet! Animals such as dogs, cats and horses have complex emotions and will feel your abandonment.
I am a mom to two fur kids. Shumba a Rhodesian Ridgeback and Harley a domestic cat. At the moment Shumba needs almost the same amount of attention as my daughter.
Pets bring so much joy to your life. Shumba is EM’s shadow and they have the sweetest bond. Harley and my husband have a pact and stick together, being the two males in the house – nothing will break that Bromance.
Do you have any pets?