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Read on to get some tips for supporting any animal addition to your family. After making sure your pet has access to water and nutritious food, the next best way to care for it is to give it daily attention. Take your pet for a walk or let it out of its cage at least once a day. Buy toys and play with your pet so it gets enough exercise. If you want to know more about making a budget for your pet or on scheduling veterinary trips, continue reading the article!
This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 10 references. Determine if you can adequately care for a pet. While pets are loving additions to your home, they are not always easy to manage.
All pets require time, money, and love in addition to the specific needs of each animal and breed. You need to be sure you want a pet not just that day but in the long-term. Most pets require attention and maintenance during the day, so make sure you'll be home enough to take care of your pet.
If you have kids, consider what pets will be kid-friendly. Hamsters and fish, for example, make great early pets. If you plan on moving or making large lifestyle changes you shouldn't consider a pet until you are more stable. Choose a pet that fits your lifestyle. Even different types of dogs have different needs, so make sure you pick a pet that suits your means. Before buying a pet do thorough research on the behaviors and needs of various pets you like.
Don't go into this decision dead-set on one species or breed -- being open-minded can lead to happy surprises and the right pet for your family. Keep in mind some general concerns with different pets: Dogs - though dogs vary widely by breed, all dogs need lots of attention, time to exercise, and plenty of room to roam. Cats - Intelligent and individual, cats will be fine with less supervision, though they still need your love and time to keep from acting out.
Hamsters, Gerbils, Ferrets, and Rodents - Economical and short-living, rodents make good first pets. They often, however, have strong odors. Fish - Fish need careful monitoring and care to thrive, and won't cuddle anytime soon.
Think of having a fish like having a garden. Lizards - Happy on their own and generally easy to care for, lizards do not offer much affection and can be difficult to diagnose when sick. Birds - Birds can be incredibly messy and are often loud. They are also expensive and occasionally temperamental, especially bigger birds like parrots. Rabbits - Rabbits are friendly first-time pets that make a great contribution to the household.
However, they can easily make a lot of noise and mess. Choose your breed carefully, especially if you have children. Some breeds are natural shepherds, which makes them great for 1 person, but some breeds Border Collie, for example have the sheep-herding instinct in their blood. This means that when a child roams too far from the rest of the "herd," the collie will try to get it back.
How does it do it with the sheep? This may result in grave injuries to children. Please do your research on how breeds behave. It is important that a pet lives in an environment where it will be comfortable, safe and provided with what it needs.
Some animals are very adaptable, such as cats, which can live happily in environments ranging from farm land to city centers, while others have more specific needs. For example, horses must have a lot of pastureland and somewhere safe to shelter. For animals that will roam the house, not being confined to tanks or cages, they will need places to sleep that are out of the way of general household traffic, where they can lie without being disturbed, such as the corner of a room.
If they are a cat that will often be shut indoors, then it is also important that they have a litter tray that is regularly cleaned out. Be realistic about your budget, and your ability to shoulder responsibilities. Some pets are more expensive than other pets, and you need to be honest with yourself about whether you can afford the pet - and whether you have the time and maturity to handle it.
Costs associated with pets include set-up supplies. Depending on the kind of pet, you might need a crate, an aquarium , and leashes. You need to factor in the cost of regular food purchases, but also whether you can afford to take your pet to the veterinarian for preventative care like shots , not just emergency care.
That's essential to keep the pet healthy, and it can be quite costly. Prepare your house for your incoming pet. Curious, food-driven, and unable to listen to your warnings, pets can get into trouble if you don't create boundaries or safe spaces. Birds may dart out of open windows, lizards can scamper around the house, and dogs or cats may run into the street.
Take note of openings your pet could accidentally escape through and make sure you can keep food out of their reach. Remove any harmful objects like knives or poisonous food.
If you want your animal to have outside time, consider putting in a fence. Put aside one room that you can designate as the pet's "bedroom.
Buy necessary pet supplies in advance. Talk to the pet store attendants or adoption agencies about things you'll need -- housing, toys, grooming supplies, etc. Teach your family members how to use everything so that everyone is on the same page. If you have young children you can help them prepare for pet care by "feeding" a doll or regularly watering plants. Budget enough money for adequate care.
Pets are not ultra expensive, but that doesn't mean you won't need to spend money. Schedule regular visits to the vet. Be sure to bring your pet to the vet soon after adopting it as well.
Just like humans, pets need regular check-ups to spot problems before they become serious conditions. Use your first visit to discuss how often you should schedule check-ups and your pet's dietary and medical needs. Be sure to schedule shots and vaccinations as soon as you can. Make sure that your pet has all of the proper vaccines and other preventative medication suggested by your veterinarian, such as heart worm pills for some dogs.
Ask your vet what symptoms to look for if your pet gets sick. Spay or neuter dogs and cats to prevent pet over-population. Knowing your pet's normal behavior is very important; if they are sick or injured, they will often act unusually, such as sleeping more, going off their food, etc. If they begin to act oddly, check them for any injuries and keep an eye on their food and water intake; if they stop eating or drinking, or they have obvious wounds that are concerning you, then take them to the vet.
Make sure your new "family member" has food that suits their nutritional needs. The cheapest food you find may not always be the healthiest. Feeding animals table scraps - no matter how cute they are when they beg - is not a good idea since people food often has minerals and items in it that can be harmful to our animal friends.
Only feed your pet appropriate foods and give them responsible portions. Research or ask your vet about good food sources and portion sizes. Natural foods, though more expensive, are healthier than dry or processed foods.
Many foods that are edible for humans can be inappropriate for animals, making them ill when they consume them, so it is important to research what foods your pet can not eat as well as those they can eat. Clean your pet and all of its enclosures. This will keep both you and your pet healthy and happy. Create a regular cleaning schedule, at least once every weeks, and stick to it, cleaning your animal and it's living spaces to prevent disease and odor.
Consider whether your pet needs to be groomed. Many animals will largely take care of themselves, only really needing to be groomed or bathed when they manage to get very messy. Others, such as long-haired dogs or cats, may need regular grooming. Figure out the exercise needs if any of the pet before you buy it, and consider whether your lifestyle gives you enough time to meet them. But other pets must be exercised. Dogs require a more hands-on approach to exercise because they need to be walked regularly.
Making sure your pet gets enough exercise can help prevent aggression and destructive behaviors. Do in-depth research about care for your pet. While these steps are general guidelines for pet ownership, each animal is different and you need to adapt accordingly. Ask friends who have similar pets, check out books from the library, and search internet discussion boards about your breed or species. You can never know too much. Be flexible once you bring your pet home. Pets have personalities and will have different wants and needs.
It's not just the initial cost of getting a pet which you need to consider. Food, equipment, toys, flea and worm treatments, pet insurance premiums, replacing a chewed-up bed or unexpected vets bills — it all adds up significantly over the lifetime of your pet, especially as they get older or if they develop health problems. We're a nation of animal lovers, but the reality of owning a pet can be different from what we expect.
Researching as much as you can about the species and breed of pet you want is really important, and real-life experiences of people who already own that pet and advice from a vet are essential. From your answers, you would find it easiest to meet the welfare needs of pets circled in green. Click on each pet to find out more about different breeds. If a pet is circled in amber, click to learn more about what changes you may need to make before offering them a home, so that you can provide them with a happy and healthy life which meets their five welfare needs.
Click on each pet to find more about different breeds. Every home and situation is different, and we know that owners go to great lengths to ensure that their pets are healthy and happy.
This is a guide to help potential pet owners make an informed choice about whether to offer a forever home to an animal, fully aware of the costs and responsibilities involved! Fish are a great pet if you're worried you might not have lots of time, space or money to own a larger pet, but remember, owning a fish is still a big commitment -the average fish will live for around 10 years… but can live up to 40 years! Different fish have different requirements, so contact a vet or an aquatic specialist to find out everything you'll need to know about keeping your chosen breed of fish before you buy anything.
All fish need a tank of water big enough for them to swim around easily and avoid other fish in the tank, and should be in a quiet place; have you got space for this in your home? Although you'll need to do cleaning and maintenance of the tank at least every week, fish don't need you to exercise them, or keep them company, so if you're quite busy and not always around then fish could be a good choice for you.
Different birds have different requirements, but all will need an indoor aviary big enough for them to fly across, so you will need a large area to dedicate to your birds.
Some species can live up to 60 years so it's important you get as much advice as you can by speaking to your vet or an avian specialist and find out everything you'll need to know about your chosen species. You should check if your chosen species of bird likes the companionship of another bird.
Budgies for example, are very social and enjoy being kept with another budgie of the same sex but having two birds will increase the monthly costs, so your bird's need for company will need to be calculated for. Birds are generally quite friendly and enjoy some gentle interaction with trusted people, such as playing games with toys. Birds can become easily bored and frustrated if they don't have enough contact with humans, so you need to think if you have time every day to dedicate to your bird.
Birds need to exercise by flying in their aviary or around your home in a secure area, so even if you're not that active a bird may suit your lifestyle.
Find out lots more information about birds here. Small pets such as hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils and chinchillas generally live in a cage inside your home. Each one needs different care if you keep them as pets, so speak to your vet or a small pet specialist to find out everything you need to know about your chosen pet before you take one home.
Some smaller pets like chinchillas can live up to 22 years, whereas the average life span of a hamster is around 2 years. The cages you need to keep small pets happy and healthy might be bigger than you think - chinchillas need a cage that is at least 2 metres square, so you could need a large area to dedicate to your small pet.
Most small pets are very sociable and need to live in groups or pairs so this might increase the space they need, how much it costs you to keep them and how much time you need to dedicate to them.
Some small pets are nocturnal, and will be active and sometimes noisy at night. It's worth checking if this applies to the pet you'd like to get, if you're planning to keep them anywhere near to where people sleep! Small pets are generally friendly and can enjoy lots of interaction with us, if gently handled from a young age. They're active animals, and enjoy playing games playing with toys, but as this can generally be done in a secure area of your home, even if you're not that active, you'll be able to keep a small pet happy and healthy.
You will need time to play with your small pet every day and will need to regularly clean out their living environment. Find out more about the different small pets and their needs here. Guinea pigs need to be kept in a large, outdoor hutch with free access to a large run, so you need a garden big enough to accommodate a hutch that's at least 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high with the run beside it.
Guinea pigs need the company of another guinea pig as they are very sociable. Guinea pigs can live to be 8 years old but their average lifespan is around 4 years. Guinea pigs are generally very friendly and enjoy lots of interaction with us. They also enjoy keeping active by playing games with toys. As this can generally be done in a secure area of your home or garden, even if you're not that active, you should be able to keep a guinea pig happy and healthy.
You will need to spend time with your guinea pig every day and regularly clean out their living environment. Guinea pigs have very specific dietary requirements so try to do lots of research including speaking to a vet before you decide they are the pet for you.
Rabbits need to be kept in a large, outdoor hutch with a large run which they can access when they want to throughout the day. You need a garden big enough to accommodate a hutch that's at least 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high and a run that is at least 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 2 feet high. Rabbits need the company of other rabbits, as they become lonely and stressed if kept on their own. Many people take out pet insurance to cover for this.
Rabbits are generally very friendly and enjoy lots of interaction with us. They also enjoy keeping active by playing games, burrowing and playing with toys. As this can generally be done in a secure area of your home or garden, even if you're not that active, you should be able to keep a pair of rabbits happy and healthy. You will need to regularly clean out their living environment and spend lots of time with them every day, including taking time to groom them if they are longhaired.
Rabbits have very specific dietary requirements so try to do lots of research including speaking to a vet so you are well prepared. Find out more about rabbits and their needs here. Many cats are quite solitary creatures and prefer their own company to living with other pets.
Although cats are generally happy to be left alone for longer periods of time, you still need to feed and check your cat at least once a day. Some cats are very social and enjoy spending lots of time every day with us and yet some cats don't ever require companionship with humans.
This can depend on their experiences as a kitten. Cats need to be able to exercise every day. This can be outside in your garden but if this is not safely possible, cats can live inside. However, if you choose to have an indoor cat, think about how you can interact with them and what you can provide to make sure they can still play, chase, run, climb and scratch — all natural behaviours for a cat.
Every cat needs their own bed or safe area where they can hide, food and water bowls and at least one litter tray per cat so you need to make sure you've got space around the house for these.
You'll also need to keep a close eye on their weight, and be prepared to clean out those litter trays at least twice a day! Cats usually live to be between 12 and 15 years old but some cats can live much longer. This doesn't include vets bills so if your cat is sick or injured it will cost you more and many people choose to have pet insurance to help prepare for these unexpected costs. It's a big commitment to take on a cat and you need to make sure you speak to your vet, and maybe someone who already owns a cat to find out what it's really like to own one.
Find out more about cats, cat breeds and cat care here. Dogs are very sociable and enjoy spending lots of time with us. Dogs don't enjoy being left alone for long periods of time and it's not recommended to leave them alone for more than 4 hours. In your house, dogs need quite a large space as they need a private and safe area to sleep along with their food and water bowls.
Your garden needs to be secure and big enough for your dog to explore and go to the toilet. No matter how big your garden is, dogs need daily walks outside of your home and garden. Walks are not just for the physical benefits but for mental stimulation too. Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dogs exercise requirements, as a general rule smaller dogs like Yorkshire Terriers need between 20 and 60 minutes of exercise every day, no matter the weather!
Smaller dogs generally live for longer than larger breeds and can live up to 15 years old. This doesn't include vets bills, so if your dog is sick or injured it will cost you more and many people choose to have pet insurance to help prepare for these unexpected costs.
It's a big commitment to take on a dog, and you need to make sure you speak to your vet, and maybe someone who already owns a dog to find out what it's really like to own one. Different breeds of dog have very different personalities and requirements so doing lots of research and finding the right dog for you and your lifestyle is key.
There's lots of information about dogs including dog breeds and where you can get a dog from on our DOGS web pages. Find out more about dogs, dog breeds and dog care here. Dogs don't enjoy being left alone for long periods of time and can become destructive if they are panicking, anxious or bored — we'd suggest that they aren't left alone for longer than four hours.
A dog will take up quite a bit of room in your house, as they need a quiet, comfortable and safe area to sleep, as well as somewhere for their food and water bowls, equipment, toys Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dog's exercise requirements,medium dogs need around hours of exercise every day, no matter the weather!
Medium breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs and generally live around 12 years. Different breeds of dog have very different personalities and requirements so doing lots of research, finding the right dog for you, from a reputable source, is key.
There's lots of information about dogs, including dog breeds and where you can get a dog from on the dog pages of our website. Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dog's exercise requirements, larger dogs such as Labrador Retrievers need over 2 hours of exercise every day, no matter the weather! Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs and generally live around 9 years. This might be because you don't have a secure garden. Whilst having a garden is recommended, if you live close to a park and are willing to walk your dog to the park every time they need to go to the toilet you could still think about a dog — it would depend on your lifestyle and the age and breed of dog.
It might be that you're planning to move to a house with a garden in the future, if so, perhaps waiting till you do is going to be best for your future canine companion?
It might be because you answered that you aren't very active. It's important that dogs are walked twice every day to keep them happy and healthy — can you commit to this? If not, perhaps you have a family member or friend who would love to help out with some of the walks or you could look into paying a dog walker every day.
However, dogs can live for over 15 years - two walks a day means nearly 11, walks over his lifetime, so if walking isn't for you, perhaps another pet would be a better match for you? It might be because you're busy and don't have much time to dedicate to a pet.
Dogs need lots of companionship, as well as daily walks and play time. About four hours is longest you should leave a dog alone, so unless you plan on changing your lifestyle, maybe consider a different pet?
A dog really doesn't make a good match for someone with a hectic schedule! This figure might sound high, but dogs need a lot of care, particularly as they get older. Owners need to make sure they can afford everything their dog will need to stay happy and healthy throughout their life, which can be over 15 years!
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