In today's society the number of people doing their shopping online has rapidly grown and many of our purchases are now made using a computer. This is also true for pets and many people looking to adopt a new animal are turning to online sale sites and social media; but sometimes it's a bit too easy to click the 'buy it now' button on a website.
The decision to get a new pet shouldn't be taken lightly, dogs live on average 10-15 years, cats 15-20 and rabbits 5-7 years; So the decision to get any of these animals, means a full time commitment for many years.
Recent studies into pet ownership by the PDSA, have shown that 1 in 4 pet owners do no research at all before getting a new pet. This terrifying statistic only gets worse when you learn that equates to 5.2 million people who get a pet without knowing anything about their needs or suitability. It's not surprising that we have so many animals in re-homing shelters or being dumped, when they were bought on a whim without the background knowledge of their needs.
Some things you should consider before clicking the 'buy it now' button;
Training - Some breeds of dog are harder to train than others. Training classes can take dedication from the whole family and aren't cheap. But if you skip this step, your dog will be socialised (leading to fear or aggression) and will be harder to live with as they won't obey your commands.
Breed temperament - Some breeds have personality traits that you may not find pleasing i.e. Bengal cats are vocal and more like wild cats (not lazy lap cats) and Spaniels can be highly energetic (so be prepared for a bouncy dog).
Preventative healthcare - To prevent your pet from becoming unwell, prevention is better than cure for many things; including vaccinations, flea and worming. Prices can vary but many vets offer puppy/kitten discounts (check out the Brentknoll Happy Pet Club), it's a life-time requirement so you will need to budget for monthly flea prevention and annual boosters.
Injury/illness veterinary care - When your pet becomes unwell you will need to seek help from the vet. This isn't a free service so be prepaired to pay for your pet's treatment. You can help with the costs by taking out pet insurance, this can range drastically in price per month, depending on factors like the breed, age, sex and expected risk (as well other factors.)
Breed suitability - Not a fan of hour long walks twice a day; then an energetic collie isn't the breed for you. If you don't like hair on your clothes, a Persian cat isn't a great choice. Make sure you choose a suitable breed for you, rather than choosing based on looks.
Food - Animals need good nutrition in order to grow and remain healthy. Too much of the wrong foods could result in your pet becoming overweight and developing obesity related health problems. Too little, or the wrong type of food and your pet could develop deficiencies leading to serious medical problems.
Time - Animals need your time, no matter what the breed. If you work away a lot or work long hours, you will need to consider pet sitters or dog walkers to help keep your pet company. Bored animals become depressed and can become destructive if not mentally stimulated.
Shelter/Accommodation - Rabbits are one of the most misunderstood pets when it comes to suitable housing; living in hutches far too small for them for most of their lives. Rabbit owners are often shocked to learn how much space these small furies actually need in order to live a happy, healthy life as a pet.
Owning a pet is a luxury, not a right - if you're not prepaired to give them all of the things above, then pet ownership isn't right for you.
As a pet owner, you should expect to pay on average £21,000 - £33,000 for dogs and £17,000 - £24,000 for cats over their lifetime... that's a pretty expensive impulse purchase!
If you are considering getting a new pet, we encourage you to contact us and speak to our team about choosing the most suitable pet for your life style. We can also offer advise on avoiding puppy farms and illegally imported pets (a common problem now in the UK.)
Don't be an impulsive pet purchaser, speak to Brentknoll Vets to avoid the unexpected