Becoming a pet owner
Making the decision to become a pet owner is an exciting one. No doubt you’re already imagining all the joy your new companion is going to bring to your life.
The average dog or cat will live somewhere between 12-15 years (some cats even make it to 20) so it’s a big commitment and one that will change your life significantly.
Each year thousands of dogs and cats are abandoned or surrendered to animal shelters – the lucky ones are re-homed, but devastatingly many beautiful, healthy animals are destroyed. Please think carefully before you bring a pet home because the decision to get a pet should be one you make for life.
It’s also important to consider a few of the practical aspects of owning a pet
The cost: Many people only consider the cost of purchasing a pet, but you need to think about ongoing costs such as food and food dishes, vet costs (which can be managed with pet insurance which also costs), collars and ID tags, grooming utensils, bedding or shelter and all the toys.
The commitment: Pets require a lot of time and attention. From feeding to exercise and training, they are an intense, lifelong and incredibly rewarding commitment. If you travel a lot you will need to consider care while you are away.
Your environment: Is your home environment prepared and safe for a pet? If it isn’t, are you willing to make the financial and time investment to ensure that it is?
What to look out for
As individual as you are
Not all animals behave the same way. Some are more energetic and need lots of space and outdoor time, while others will be more adaptable. Particular breeds might also be more prone to certain health conditions later in life. If you have children or are thinking about starting a family, consideration should also be given to dogs and cats that are good with children.
Do your research and be as informed as possible about this new addition to your home.
Give a cat or dog a second chance
If you are looking to get a new pet, you may also want to consider pet adoption. This is a wonderful way to give an orphaned dog or cat a new start to life. There are many beautiful animals available for adoption at shelters around Australia. All have undergone vigorous health and temperament checks to ensure their suitability as pets.
Benefits of owning a pet
Health benefits of the animal-human bond
Owning a pet can contribute to lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels. Maybe it’s the companionship and the unconditional love that boosts your emotional wellbeing, or the fact that your pet brings you plenty of enjoyment. Whatever it is, it works.
There really is nothing like coming home and being greeted by your favourite four-legged friend who is always delighted to see you. Their love for you is unconditional and their enthusiasm can be quite contagious.
A more active lifestyle
Having a pet makes you more active and gets you out of the house. Playing with your cat or walking or running with your dog can improve your fitness levels and are great stress and tension relievers.
Dog walking also increases your social interaction. You’ll be amazed how many people you speak to and even become friends with through your dog.