Choose the perfect pet with these five top tips
Choosing a pet is no small decision. The investment isn’t only monetary (although we all know that feeding and caring for a fur baby does impact the wallet) – it’s a commitment in time, energy and love as well. But as any dedicated pet owner will tell you, it’s all worth it.
Choosing the best pet for your living, working and family arrangements can be a careful process, and one that you want to take seriously.
“If they are lucky, a family can enjoy anywhere from ten to 16 years with their fur babies, so this is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” says Dr Tarryn Dent, Business Unit Lead: Companion Animals at Zoetis South Africa (Zoetis), a global animal health company.
Dent has five top tips that people should take into account before choosing a pet:
Space and living arrangementsWhen considering pet ownership, it’s important to ensure that your living space is suitable for the size and breed of pet you’re interested in. For example, cats generally require less space than dogs, but some dog breeds require large gardens for exercise, or daily walks. Additionally, it’s important to pet-proof your home to ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable. This can include securing loose wires, moving poisonous plants, and making sure that your pet has a designated sleeping area. It’s also important to secure your fence so that your new pet does not get out. Losing a pet can be heartbreaking for both the owner and the community who is trying to return a lost pet but does not know who it belongs to.
Time and commitmentOwning a pet requires a significant time commitment. Pets need daily attention, including feeding, grooming, and exercise, as well as emotional support. Make sure you have the time to devote to your pet and that your schedule allows for the necessary attention and care.
LifestyleConsider your daily schedule and activities, as well as your future plans, to determine if a pet would fit into your lifestyle. If you’re frequently traveling or have a demanding schedule, a pet may not be a good fit, unless you want your furry friends to travel with you. There are many holiday venues that accommodate pets, so do your research and check if your new companion can be involved in your day-to-day life both at home and away. It can be deeply rewarding to include pets in all personal and family activities.
CostOwning a pet can be expensive, including costs for food, toys, grooming supplies, and medical expenses. It’s a good idea to take out pet insurance and to have a rainy-day fund for unexpected expenses. Budget for regular veterinary visits and proactive treatments such as a regular tick and flea regime to circumvent problems down the line.
CompatibilityConsider the breed, size, personality, and energy level of the pet you’re interested in to ensure it will be a good fit for your lifestyle and living arrangements. Research the different breeds and their characteristics to find one that suits your needs. Your veterinarian will also be able to give you some recommendations based on your family, living and lifestyle situation. Consider visiting animal shelters and spending time with potential pets to get a feel for their personalities and energy levels. This will help ensure that you choose a pet that will be a good match for your family. This is particularly important if you are bringing your new pet home to children. Where possible, choose to adopt a pet rather than shopping for one. However, if you are choosing a pure breed, make sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder.
Integrating your fur baby into your household
Pets are members of the family. Once you’ve brought your new fur baby home, consider all the ways you can create a better, healthier life together.
“One of the most important things a pet owner should do is stay up to date with vaccinations,” says Dent. “This protects pets and their families. A vaccination schedule helps owners stay on top of which vaccines are due once they take their pets to their veterinarian for a check-up.”
Of course, just like with humans, heathy pets live healthier and happier lifestyles, so ensure your pet is eating a good, balanced diet that suits their breed and size and leads to better skin health and healthy teeth and if you’re getting active this year, include your pet in your workout routine.
“A walk a day offers enormous health benefits for people and their pets,” says Dent. “It’s the perfect way to spend quality time together while getting the heart rate up at the same time.”