Don't put your eggs all in one basket: Choosing a pet

Has that adorable puppy caught your attention with its cute ears and puppy dog eyes? Do the kids want a fluffy bunny rabbit or that soft, yellow chick this Easter?

When you decide to take ownership of an animal, you are ultimately accepting all responsibility for that pet’s welfare. Taking care of a pet can become less daunting if we consider all aspects of what pet care can involve well before deciding to bring one home.

There are a few things to consider before bringing home that fluffy bunny to know not only what is right for you but what you can provide for another living creature for the entirety of its life.

One major part of pet care is expenses. Some species or breeds of pets have special needs that may require additional cost or effort. This includes food, housing, socialisation, exercise, grooming and veterinary care. Specialised veterinary care may be required for our ‘unusual’ pets such as reptiles, amphibians, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds. Did you know some large bird species can live to be 100 years of age?

What about your lifestyle? Do you work from home and can spend the majority of your day being alongside your very handsome but also quite needy Siberian husky? Are you active and enjoy daily runs or exercise? Some pets need more frequent exercise, feeding or social time than others. Other species may have demanding but necessary husbandry (housing) requirements (such as tropical fish).

Along with your lifestyle, comes your living situation and the council or local laws. Are you in a rental? Consider the space required for large breed dog verses a small cat. You may be restricted by the type or number of pets you can have or limited in the space you can provide.

Do you already have other pets at home? Will they get along even if they are the same species? Consider the behaviour of the individual pet. Do you have young children? Although encouraged to be involved, it may also be unrealistic to expect a child to be solely responsible for any pet’s care and welfare.

All pets will require work, effort, money, care and of course, veterinary treatment. Once you are confident you have chosen the right pet for you, regular trips to your veterinarian, providing care, attention, nutrition and the right environment will ensure a healthy and fulfilling life for both you and your new companion.