Pet Cover Direct

Having a Pet

Deciding to have a pet is a massive decision and not one to be made on the spur of the moment. Choosing to have a pet means giving up a large amount of your time as you have a responsibility to care for them keeping them happy and healthy. This costs money as well as time.

Thousands of pets, particularly dogs, are given up to rescues or abandoned each year when their owners realise they cannot cope with them. Many people are surprised at how much they have to change their lifestyle in order to care for an animal, particularly dogs. When you are thinking about getting a pet you need to be sure you are ready for the change in your lifestyle that will be required and the pressure on your pocket.

Here are a few specific things you need to think about before deciding to welcome a pet into your life and home;

Pets can cause havoc in your house

Without training, pets don’t think about what they are chewing, or where they do their business. As a result you may find they leave you the odd ‘gift’ on your carpet, or they may mistake your shoes and other belongings as a chew toy.

Of course when buying a new puppy most people will be aware that they will need training, but not a lot of people realise the long process puppy training can be. It requires, time, patience and gentleness. It would probably be a good idea not to buy any new furniture or carpets until your puppy is fully trained.

Cats, on the other hand, won’t use you new shoes as a chew toy but they do still need some training. Kittens need to learn to use the litter tray. Other habits cats tend to enjoy is bringing home 'presents' for you to enjoy – these can be mouse or birds they have caught whilst out playing.

Dogs and cats can both suffer from fleas and other parasites so you will need to make sure that you have them regularly checked and treated. Both animals can shed fur which can be annoying when you find yourself covered head to toe in fur after sitting on your sofa. Your pet could be gently trained to stay in one area, or you might have to clean the house more often or install chair and sofa covers.

Is your lifestyle pet-friendly?

When you are thinking about having a pet you need to consider how you live and whether a pet could fit into your lifestyle. For example, if you work long days at the office you need to think about how this would affect your pet. Dogs are particularly social animals and so they don’t like spending large amounts of time on their own. If you are at work could someone else keep your dog company and take it out for walks? Cats are more independent than dogs and may be a better choice for working families. They still need attention, regular feeding and access to clean water and shelter.

Another thing that you need to take into consideration is whether anyone in your family has an allergies. Often having pets around can make allergies worse. This isn’t just due to their fur but also to proteins from both their urine and saliva. Being in contact with an animal such as a cat or dog can also lead to asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Can you finance a pet?

Pets cost a lot of money during their lifetime, on food and equipment not to mention visits to the vets. As well as regular check-ups, pets can become suddenly ill and you may find that you’re left to foot a very expensive bill. It's been estimated that a dog can cost as much as £10,000 over a lifetime of up to 16 years. You will need to allow some more money in your monthly budget to pay for your pet.

What about holidays?

If you are going away on holiday, having a weekend trip or visiting friends and family for a few days you need to consider who will look after your pet while you are away. Can you take your pet with you? Will you pay for boarding kennels or a cattery, or can someone move into your home to look after your pet?

You may think this isn’t a problem if you holiday in the UK - but you will need to check that you are allowed to take animals with you. Don’t assume that pets are always welcome or that the place where you are staying will be pet-friendly.

Animals aren’t able to look after themselves - and sadly some people think they can - and have left them on their own.

Before you commit to an animal - think it through. If you think that now isn’t the time for you to take on a pet you could 'adopt' a pet through an animal charity by paying towards its upkeep.