Tips on how to choose a pet

The animals we keep as pets depend on us to make sure they live healthy and happy lives. Companion animals bring joy to the lives of millions of people – and they're good for our health, too.  Pet ownership requires planning and commitment.

Tips on how to choose a pet

1. Ask yourself these questions

Before making a decision on whether to bring a pet into your home, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is everyone in the family willing to help care for an animal?
  • Does anyone in the family suffer from allergies?
  • What sort of pet will be best for your lifestyle and the size and type of home you live in? Will it suit the surrounding environment?
  • Do you want a young animal or an adult one? Puppies and kittens need a lot more attention.
  • How big will your dog grow? How much exercise will it need? Learn as much as possible about the characteristics and requirements of the different breeds you are considering. There are many informative web sites.
  • What sort of pet will be suitable for young children?
  • Will you be able to afford expenses such as pet food, vet care and insurance over the long term?

2. Pros and cons of owning a pet

  • Pets can make excellent companions, and there's no doubt that the regular routine of having to exercise a dog is good for our health – pet owners suffer less from high blood pressure and heart attacks and tend to recover more quickly from illness and surgery.
  • Children who are brought up with pets are likely to learn respect for animals.
  • But owning a pet is a long-term responsibility. And, unfortunately, even the most good-natured cats and dogs have the instincts of wild animals and pose a threat to native mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

3. Adopting a pet

  • Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization is a worthwhile experience, and it goes some way to alleviating the burden of unwanted animals.
  • You'll have to pay a fee, but it will be less than a pet shop would charge.
  • In most cases, the animal will be immunized, spayed or neutered and micro chipped.
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