Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness.
After sadly losing our own dear old girls: "Tilly” and "Tara", our faithful old Collie dogs over the last couple of years, we are now finally thinking about acquiring a new pet. We miss having the companionship that a dog can bring to a home and also it has felt so strange going out on walks without a dog! The decision to take on a new pet is one we have taken almost a year to make after losing our lovely "Tilly" last February. It has been a decision that does and has taken careful deliberation.
Here is some advice on making this important decision.
While owning a pet can be so rewarding. It is a huge and a lifelong responsibility and commitment and not one to be taken without careful thought about and research into what you are about to embark on here.
As a pet owner you will be committed to providing for all the essential, basic requirements of your pet. It is essential to thoroughly research this before acquiring any new pet, to ensure that you have the capacity to meet their physiological, behavioural and social needs.
Purchasing a pet should never be an impulsive decision. Sadly, Pet Rescue shelters receive thousands of unwanted and abandoned animals each year, often the result of an ill-considered decision.
So, before you make the decision to become a pet owner, you should ask yourself the following questions:
1) Am I prepared to care for a pet for its entire life?
The average lifespan of dogs is 10 to 13 years, and with cats even until mid-teens upwards to 20 years old. So this really is a long-term commitment.
2) Can I afford a pet?
Pets are an expensive addition to any family. The costs of pet ownership will vary, depending on the type of pet you choose. Ask yourself are you able to afford their basic needs and their required veterinary attention on-going for their entire lifetime?
3) Do I understand how to care for a pet?
It is your responsibility, as a new pet owner, to thoroughly research the individual and unique requirements of your final chosen pet.
4) Do I have time to care for a pet?
Caring for a pet takes a considerable amount of time every day. Some pets will require more of your time than others. Young puppies and kittens do involve a particularly large time- investment from their owners.
5) Do I live in suitable accommodation with adequate space for a pet?
Do you have space in your home? Are you allowed to keep pets at your current residence? Do you have a secure garden? What would happen if you have to move home? Do you have young children in your home or grand-children visiting?
6) Will a pet fit into my particular lifestyle and priorities?
Working hours, a busy social life and taking regular holidays away are all factors that need to be carefully considered. Our pets thrive on human company and they do depend on you to provide them with adequate daily care, so you must be sure that your current lifestyle will accommodate them.
These are all very important questions to ask yourself before you consider taking on a new pet. For good professional advice on general pet care and for advice on initial Veterinary preventative healthcare treatments for any new pet contact the practice.