Would you ever get rid of your cat or dog? Most of us wouldn’t dream of it and think of them as part of the family. But one in four people surveyed by Admiral Pet Insurance confessed they would consider it.
While three out of five admitted they’d regretted getting their pet at some stage.
So how can you avoid that from happening? It’s not their fault after all. And every animal really should be for life, not just for Christmas. Or any other special occasion.
Don’t rush into getting a pet
For a start, it’s probably best not to get one to make someone else happy.
Most owners did say they’d wanted to get a pet since they were a child and the choice was all theirs. A few even received them as much-wanted birthday gifts.
But nearly a quarter admitted the decision to adopt a four-legged friend was actually their partner’s.
And a fifth got one to keep the kids happy. Unfortunately, too many parents find out their child’s commitment to pet care doesn’t always match their enthusiasm for a puppy.
Some even confessed they’d been inspired by social media or a celebrity to get a cat or dog.
It’s easy to understand why many people would see a cute kitten or puppy online and get a pet in haste. But it can be a risky decision when even the most devoted dog owner or enthusiastic cat fan will admit it can be tough taking care of them.
Consider the challenges – and costs - of pet ownership
Getting up early for walks in all weathers, damaged furniture, hair and fur everywhere, unexpected vet bills, the cost of kennels…. The little things can start to add up.
The biggest challenge almost half of caring owners said they face is the guilt of leaving their pet alone at home. This even made 14% of dog owners feel regretful about getting their pet. Luckily, it’s a problem that can be partially solved through the services of a dog walker or pet sharing website.
Half of cat owners and a third of dog owners agreed the expense of vets’ bills and general cost of keeping a pet was a pretty big challenge too. More than one in 10 said they regretted having their pet on the occasions when they were landed with a massive bill for veterinary treatment.
Pet insurance will help to cover the cost of vet fees but many people underestimate how much their upkeep will cost. Vaccine boosters, flea and worm treatment, food, cat litter, neutering, toys and walking accessories all need to be taken into account.
The most common time for cat and dog owners to express some regret about getting their pet is when ‘nature calls’. Let’s face it, nobody particularly likes to pick up poo, empty a litter tray, clean up cat fur balls or other bodily fluids.
But even the most highly toilet trained pooch won’t know how to flush the loo. So squeamish people should probably avoid getting pets that need lots of maintenance.
Owning any pet can be challenging at times but the love, loyalty and benefits to your mental and physical heath will make it all worthwhile.
Before making the commitment, think about the pet that’s right for you, and whether you are right for them too, so neither of you regrets it later on.