CHOOSING THE RIGHT PET FOR YOU
When it comes to choosing a pet for your family, there are a few things to keep in mind. A pet, after all, might be part of your family for the next 15 years. It's a huge commitment and one that must be considered fully before taking the plunge.
Kelly Doyle, community, education and training officer at RSPCA, says that the main difference between happy pet owners and those who aren't is simple: research. "Adding a pet to your family can be amazing, but you have to be realistic about your lifestyle before you take the next step," she says. "Don't just think about questions like, 'Am I a dog person or a cat person?' Think about your life and how a pet will fit in."
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE GETTING A PET
Before you head to the shelter or your local RSPCA, Doyle suggests asking yourself the following questions:
1. Are you very social? If you're out a lot, will you still be able to commit to your pet?
2. Do you go on holidays a lot? If this is the case, who will look after your pet when you are gone?
3. Do you work long hours? If you do, will you still have time to walk your pet if necessary?
4. Do you have time to feed, water, groom and walk your pet?
5. Do you have suitable accommodation for the pet you want?
6. If you're renting, will the landlord allow pets?
7. Is your family quiet or loud? Some breeds don't like noise very much.
8. Can you afford a pet? Don't just consider upfront costs; there will be ongoing costs like training, food, flea treatments and vet visits.
9. And finally, are you able to care for this pet for their whole life?
While a some dogs have high energy requirements, there are animals that don't. If you're not big on the outdoors and exercising, a cat might be a great option for you. Keep in mind cats require a lot of attention also, but can be content with staying inside.
If you do want a dog, make sure your activity levels match those of the breed you're after. Not all small dogs are lap dogs, so if you're unsure of the characteristics of a certain breed, please do your research.
ALREADY GOT A PET?
If you're giving your existing pet a 'sibling', make sure they'll be okay with their new housemate. Try and consider if your new pet will be a good fit for your current pet.
GET IT RIGHT
There are some great resources online to help you make an informed choice about your next pet.
rspcapuppyguide.com.au — here you'll find plenty of information on choosing the right puppy, plus how to know if your breeder is ethical. There's also a cat guide if whiskers are more your thing.
TO THE RESCUE
We're advocates of rehoming animals from shelters. There are a number of animal rescues on the Sunshine Coast doing wonderful work:
A lot of thought and responsibility is needed when becoming a pet owner.
If you have any questions or need advice we are always happy to help, please contact the clinic on 54455288