Many people would agree that a house is never truly a home until you have a pet. They can often be your best friend and companion for a number of years. So, are you thinking of adding a furry friend to your family? Whether this is a dog, cat or even something as small as a hamster, there are many things that you need to consider before making the commitment. However, we have narrowed down some of the most essential ones, so below is a list of the five most important things you need to think about before welcoming an animal into your home.
Is Your Home ‘Pet Proof’?
Before getting a pet, you need to consider whether your house is ‘pet proof’. What we mean by this is whether your house is suitable to home an animal. If you’re considering getting a dog, do you have a gate to stop him running away? Have you got a large garden so he can run around and stretch his legs? This is important as dogs can get distressed if they don’t have a lot of room to exercise.
Is your house near a busy main road? If so, cats are not suitable as they are likely to be run over. Cats are known adventurers, so can sometimes disappear – exploring for days at a time. If you live in the countryside, this may be the ideal environment for them to explore and hunt as they naturally do.
Are there young children in the house? If so, pets are usually brilliant with children, and it is proven to be beneficial to live alongside animals, as it can improve both physical and mental health. However, consider which type of animal would be best for them. Also, it is important that you explain to younger children that animals are not toys, and should be handled carefully. In rare cases, dogs may become aggressive if tormented, even in non-malicious circumstances. However, as mentioned, this is rare and if treated correctly, a brilliant relationship may form!
When getting a pet, insurance is a top priority. Without it, you can be left with extortionate vets bills that can leave you out of pocket, especially if it’s when you least expect it. Insurance for dogs and cats is essential and doesn’t have to break the bank: it is usually paid monthly and can cover things from vet bills to holiday cancellation costs! Ensure that you get cat or dog insurance through a pet insurance provider such as Everypaw who you can visit here: https://www.everypaw.com/. Insurance for pets is available for most types of dogs and cats – though some breeds are excluded. Have a look around to find the right cover for you and your furry friend.
Pets cost money. And not just through insurance. Food, beds, toys… they all add up. It’s important to consider these costs prior to making your decision. For many, without pet insurance, one of the biggest hidden costs of owning a pet is vet bills. Puppies and kittens require a certain number of vaccinations before they can go outside, as well as flea and worm treatment. Spaying and neutering are recommended for pets, as it often makes them more placid. However, these surgeries do not come cheap. Emergency vet bills are often the most expensive, especially ‘out of hours’ vets. Hopefully, visits like these can be avoided, but in some cases they are necessary. Just like humans, animals can have accidents or injure themselves, and the cost to help them will not come cheap if pet insurance does not cover it. However, these are some of the small prices that have to be paid when living with a furry companion.
Before you make your decision, it’s important to sit down and work out finances, ensuring that you can cover any vet bills or emergency expenses beforehand. There is nothing worse than realising that you may not actually be able to afford the bills required to keep your pet healthy, leading to giving them back to the person or shelter where you got them. Some pets are more expensive to house than others, such as dogs, especially if they require a dog walker.
Speaking of dog walkers, will you need one? Dogs need to go outside and exercise a couple of times a day, so if you spend more time at work than at home, you may find it hard to provide the time for walks that your dog needs. Dog walkers may come and walk your dog for you while you are at work but at a price. Consider how much this will cost in the long run. Puppies will need training, and this takes time and patience. This is similar to kittens, which will need litter training if brought home from a young age. Unfortunately, this takes a little while, so be prepared for a few accidents around the house before they get the hang of the litter tray!
Even smaller pets – rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters – will need their hutches and cages cleaned and bedding replaced from time to time. If you’ve realised you may not have quite enough time to bring up something like a puppy, consider adopting an older cat, as they are much more independent, and don’t require time for walks or training. Having a cat flap allows them to come and go as they please, meaning you don’t have to feel guilty for spending long days at work. However, be prepared for the “presents” that cats may bring home for you! After all, they are natural predators!
Adopt, Don’t Buy
If you think you’ve got all this covered and still want to welcome a companion into your home, then now you must consider where you’re going to get your furry friend from. Perhaps you have a pal who breeds puppies, or your neighbour’s cat has just had kittens. If this is the case, then brilliant! You’re all sorted. If this is not the case, however, then we would suggest adoption. There are hundreds and hundreds of unwanted pets in shelters all around the UK and beyond, waiting for a home, and many of them are put to sleep if they do not find one, as often they are just too expensive to be kept there. Adopting a pet is much cheaper than buying one from a breeder, and you are potentially giving an animal a second chance at life. There is often a huge variety of animals to choose from, hundreds of breeds from old to young so you can be sure to find the perfect pet for you for your family.
That concludes our list of the five most important things to consider beforehand. Unfortunately, these are the truths and costs of having a pet. If you are not sure that you can give them what they need, then perhaps think about whether this is the right time to bring an animal into your home. If you think you’re ready, then great! Make sure you have everything you need before bringing your furry friend home, such as a bed, toys, a litter tray. But most importantly, spend lots of time with your new friend and show them lots of love – it may be the best decision you make.