Sometimes when you enter a pet shop, or you are browsing online, or even when you visit friends and you come across an interesting pet, it’s hard to resist the temptation of buying one for yourself. Cute pictures, amusing behaviour and novelty factor all add up to some people ‘impulse buying’ animals. It’s easily done, but unfortunately can result in animals having to be sold, given to re-homing centres or in the worst case, mistreated or abandoned.
So what things should you know before you buy a pet and what things must be taken into consideration? Firstly, you should consider why you want the particular pet. Be it dog or cat, hamster or stick insect. Everyone has reasons why they like their pet of choice. But what reasons are right and more importantly, what are the wrong reasons? Having a fascination with an animal or being drawn in by its cute looks shouldn’t be the only reason you bought your pet. You should buy a pet because you will enjoy the years of companionship and responsibility it will bring.
You should not buy a pet because it’s a ‘cool’ or interesting thing to have. Of course, this may contribute to the reasons you feel drawn to it, but you need to carefully weigh up if you are looking for recognition or approval from other people by owning this pet. If you feel that may be the case, you should take a step back. You also shouldn’t want a pet because everyone else has one. So how do you decide that you are really interested in looking after the animal and not just wanting it for novelty reasons?
Firstly you should research. Even if you have seen the animal in your local pet store, you should wait. Chances are if they stock them now they can order them again. Look up on the Internet, buy books and talk to other people who have experience with that type of animal. This will give you an idea of what sort of commitment you are looking to make and what sort of care you have to provide. Research different aspects, where did it come from? How long does it live for? How best to settle the pet in? If researching the animal doesn’t bore you then you are more likely to be willing to look after it. If finding out about it bores you you may want to reconsider your choice.
Then you need to consider five main points; Cost, Time, Lifestyle, Space and Commitment.
What will the animal cost? Not just how much to buy, but how much to look after it for it’s lifetime. This includes vets bills, food, toys, enclosure and so on. It’s important you can provide it with its basic needs for the whole of its lifespan.
How much time will your pet need? Does it need walking? How long will it take to clean out? Does it have special feeding requirements? Maybe it can’t be left for long? All these things need to be considered so both you and your pet are happy together.
Does your lifestyle work with the pet? For example, do you work long hours? If so, something like a dog may not be suitable. Do you go on holiday? If so, do you have friends or family that would be willing to look after your pet? Maybe the pet is for a younger child? Will they be able to cope with the responsibility? These are all questions that need to be answered to ensure that you are happy with your pet and the animal receives the best care possible.
How much room do you have? Maybe you have enough space for the fish tank or vivarium, but is it in the right place? For larger animals, such as cats and dogs, do you have enough room for them to have a quiet space? Do you have a garden? If not, do you have parks or walks that your pet can be taken to? Again, fitting your new companion in needs to be carefully thought about to avoid any upset.
Ask if you are comfortable with the habits of your animal. Perhaps it has to be fed bugs, make sure you feel okay with this. Perhaps it needs to have lots of exercise, make sure you are happy to give this to your pet. In general consider if you will be committed to do the day-to-day care that ensures a happy and healthy life for your pet.