It’s easy to understand why so many people see a cute animal and rush into the decision of getting a furry friend. However, it’s important to remember that owning a pet isn’t all cuddles and playtime.
Here are some things that we recommend thinking about before deciding to bring a new member into the family.
Do I have time for a pet?
Looking after a pet can be just as time-consuming as taking care of a newborn baby. Puppies will require constant supervision and older dogs may need hours of walking per day.
Pets are generally just as socially dependant as humans. Dogs are particularly attention seeking and should not be left alone all day, as they can become lonely and distressed.
Think about whether you have enough time to exercise and play with your pet for the amount of time needed. Some breeds will require less of your time than others. British Bulldogs need less exercise than German Shorthaired Pointers, Boxers need less grooming than Afghan Hounds and British Shorthairs are a low maintenance cat breed that need little attention.
Will a pet fit into my lifestyle?
Consider if your current lifestyle could adjust to the demands of a pet. If you often go on holiday, think about who would care for your pet while you’re away, or if you would have to change your holiday plans so you could take your pet with you.
Also think about your day-to-day activities. If you tend to be out of the house all day, consider who would be able to look after your pet until you get home.
The Admiral Pet Insurance team spoke to 2,000 dog and cat owners in the UK to find out the top reasons for getting a pet and if they had any regrets, so take a look if you're still weighing up whether to get a pet.
Is my home ready for a pet?
Many pets will need space to run around and play in, but obviously a guinea pig won’t need as much space as a German shepherd! Consider if your home is spacious enough for the pet you have in mind.
Also bear in mind that many animals will chew or claw anything they can get their paws on, so make sure to do a thorough check of your home to see which items could potentially cause harm to your pet and which may be damaged.
Costs of owning a pet
Pets can be very expensive, and many people underestimate how much their upkeep will cost. There are several costs to consider:
- Initial cost – some pets can cost hundreds of pounds just to purchase or rehome
- One off costs – this includes microchipping, neutering, obedience classes for dogs and pet furnishings. Vet fees will cost you a lot if you don’t have pet insurance to cover the bill
- Annual costs – things such as vaccine boosters and flea and worm treatment will incur a yearly cost
- Monthly costs – food, cat litter and treatments all need to be taken into account
- Pet insurance – we understand that you would want quality treatment for your pet in the case of any illness or accidents, however quality veterinary treatment can cost thousands of pounds.
To get a better idea of how much owning a dog would be, check out our dog cost calculator.
Do your research
Once you've decided which pet suits you best, make sure you do as much research as possible.
Get advice from vets, animal charities and current owners of that breed. Make sure you know which food is suitable for your pet and check which vaccinations your pet will need to ensure they are happy and healthy.
Where to buy a pet
If you have a specific breed in mind, the best option is to buy from a breeder. Make sure they are responsible by checking paperwork such as registration papers and health screening certificates.
Ask a vet for recommendations and speak to owners of the pet’s mother and father if possible.
Alternatively, you may want to consider a rescue animal. Many pets are desperate for a loving home, and charities can offer advice and help support your pet’s transition into its new life. Although owning a pet can be challenging at times, the love and loyalty you will receive from being a ‘pet parent’ will make it all worthwhile!