Pet ownership is a fantastic, rewarding experience and even good for our health. We all know that ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’, so for those planning to give a new pet a ‘forever home’ over the festive season, how do you choose the right one?
Most people think small pets will be great ‘first pets’ for small children – but most aren’t: hamsters are nocturnal, so would prefer to be asleep while children want to play; gerbils and mice are speedy and tricky for small hands to pick up without squeezing; and rabbits are prey animals so don’t always appreciate being picked up and cuddled. On the other hand, rats love social interaction with people which means they make great pets.
Your lifestyle needs to be taken into account too – who would walk your dog if you’re out all day? Would your cat have access to safe outside space? It’s worth taking time to research the size, temperament, exercise requirements, lifespan and health predispositions of different pets and breeds to see if they’d fit in with family’s routine.
If you yearn for a pedigree dog or cat, ask your vet or the Kennel Club to tell you what to you need to look for and to ask a breeder and get them to recommend a good breeder. Bearing in mind that some pedigree breeds have inbuilt health issues, it may be well worth considering a rescue pet.
And as lovely as it is to get a kitten or a puppy, an adult rescue pet can be a great choice. As their personalities are established, you can be more confident about whether or not they will fit into your family and lifestyle. They will also be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated and possibly even trained, which cuts down on the expense of training and new furniture.
Do your sums and ensure that you can cope with the financial commitment – the right pet insurance can help a lot in that respect.
Don’t impulse buy, no matter how gorgeous or how longingly they look at you and don’t buy online or from breeders offering multiple breeds or types of pets – they may be commercial dealers with little interest in the welfare of the pets they sell.
If you would like further advice about getting a new pet, please give us a call on 01453 752555.