Thinking about a new pet? Get PetWise!
Pets bring unfaltering loyalty and companionship to our lives, so when we take on a new pet, it’s important to carefully consider their every need so we can give them the same.
PDSA Vet, Olivia Anderson-Nathan, gives her advice for choosing the perfect pet partner.
Olivia said: “Getting a pet is a very exciting time, but before taking them on it’s important to consider P-E-T-S: Place, Exercise, Time and Spend. Make sure to get plenty of knowledge about the pet you’re thinking of taking on too.”
Place – a suitable home and environment
“Make sure you have enough space for your pet to run and play. Dogs need a secure outdoor space, while rabbits and guinea pigs should have access to a large run or garden. Even hamsters and gerbils need a spacious cage and some sold in pet shops can be a bit too small. If you’re unsure, speak to your vet or vet nurse who will be able to advise.”
Exercise – the right type and amount of exercise
“All pets enjoy games and toys to keep them active. For smaller pets you can easily do this in your home, whereas dogs enjoy regular walks, with supervised off-lead time in a safe area. The amount of exercise a pet needs depends on their species, age, breed and health.”
Time – can you devote enough time to your pet?
“All pet animals are generally sociable towards people. Dogs especially love our company and can become lonely and anxious if left alone too long, so we recommend not leaving them for longer than four hours at a time on a typical day. Factor in time for walks, training, play, feeding, cleaning their home and equipment, grooming and visits to the vet. All of these can add up and might take up more time than you think.”
Spend – a lifetime of expenses
“The cost of keeping a pet for their lifetime can be surprisingly high. Food, equipment, toys, flea and worm treatments, pet insurance premiums, replacing a chewed-up bed or unexpected vets bills – it all adds up significantly over a pet’s life, especially as they get older or if they develop health problems. Write down a checklist of everything your new pet might need so you can estimate the cost.
Knowledge – how much do you know about the pet that you want?
“Researching as much as you can about the species and breed of pet you want is really important. Make sure you know about the five Welfare Needs that pets need to be happy and healthy, and that you’re going to be able to meet all those needs for your new pet.”
Where you get your pet can be just as important, as pets coming from better backgrounds will be much more likely to be happy, healthy and well-behaved.
Olivia concludes: “Your vet can provide advice about where to get a pet from, including reputable breeders and rescue centres, avoiding the heartbreak of getting an unwell or poorly-socialised pet.”
PDSA’s PetWise quiz can help you make the decision on which pet is right for you.
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.