Pet Wise

Getting a pet is a very exciting time, but providing everything for a new animal can end up being overwhelming. We can help you choose the right pet for you, and understand the needs of the pet you’re thinking about getting. Think P-E-T-S – Place, Exercise, Time and Spend… with Knowledge.

PLACE
What size garden do you have?

All pets need space to run and play, but dogs in particular need regular access to a safe and secure outdoor space. Many cats also enjoy being able to exercise outside and rabbits and guinea pigs need access to a large run or a garden to be happy and healthy.

EXERCISE
How active are you?

Dogs enjoy regular walks, and playing off the lead whenever it’s safe for them to do so. The amount of exercise a dog will need depends on their age, breed and health. All pets enjoy fun games and playing with toys to keep them active, but for smaller pets you can easily do this in your house.

TIME
How much time do you have to spend with your pet?

Pets are generally sociable and dogs especially love your company. It’s really important that they aren’t left alone for longer than four hours, as dogs can become lonely, anxious and distressed. Walks, training, play time, feeding, cleaning their home and equipment (or cleaning up after your pet!) grooming and visits to the vet can start to add up and might take more time than you think.

SPEND
How much money could you spend on your new pet?

It’s not just the initial cost of getting a pet which you need to consider. Food, equipment, toys, flea and worm treatments, pet insurance premiums, replacing a chewed-up bed or unexpected vets bills – it all adds up significantly over the lifetime of your pet, especially as they get older or if they develop health problems.

KNOWLEDGE
How much do you know about the pet that you want?

We’re a nation of animal lovers, but the reality of owning a pet can be different from what we expect. Researching as much as you can about the species and breed of pet you want is really important, and real-life experiences of people who already own that pet and advice from a vet are essential. Make sure you know about The Animal Welfare Acts and the five welfare needs that each pet needs to be healthy and happy.

The Animal Welfare Acts mean that all pet owners have a duty of care to meet the welfare needs of their pets and ensure their pets are both physically and mentally healthy and happy. The five welfare needs are;

Environment – give them a safe, suitable place to live

Diet – feed them the right type and amount of food

Behaviour – allow them to show normal behaviour patterns

Companionship – some pets like to live alone whilst others need the company of other pets

Health – keep your pets in good health and seek vet advice if they’re ill or injured

The Right Pet in the Right Home

Click on each pet to learn more about what changes you may need to make before offering them a home, so that you can provide them with a happy and healthy life which meets their five welfare needs.

Every home and situation is different, and we know that owners go to great lengths to ensure that their pets are healthy and happy. This is a guide to help potential pet owners make an informed choice about whether to offer a forever home to an animal, fully aware of the costs and responsibilities involved!

Fish are a great pet if you’re worried you might not have lots of time, space or money to own a larger pet, but remember, owning a fish is still a big commitment – the average fish will live for around 10 years… but can live up to 40 years! Although the initial start up costs can be up to $1,000 to ensure your fish have everything they need, ongoing maintenance costs are generally quite low.

Over its average lifetime, one goldfish could cost around $2,000.

Different fish have different requirements, so contact a vet or an aquatic specialist to find out everything you’ll need to know about keeping your chosen breed of fish before you buy anything. All fish need a tank of water big enough for them to swim around easily and avoid other fish in the tank, and should be in a quiet place; have you got space for this in your home?

Although you’ll need to do cleaning and maintenance of the tank at least every week, fish don’t need you to exercise them, or keep them company, so if you’re quite busy and not always around then fish could be a good choice for you.

Different birds have different requirements, but all will need an indoor aviary big enough for them to fly across, so you will need a large area to dedicate to your birds. Some species can live up to 60 years so it’s important you get as much advice as you can by speaking to your vet or an avian specialist and find out everything you’ll need to know about your chosen species.

The initial costs are generally around $500 and monthly maintenance costs can be around $60, although this doesn’t include vets bills so if your bird is sick or injured it could be a lot more, so many people take out pet insurance to cover some of this.

You should check if your chosen species of bird likes the companionship of another bird. Budgies for example, are very social and enjoy being kept with another budgie of the same sex but having two birds will increase the monthly costs, so your bird’s need for company will need to be calculated for.

Birds are generally quite friendly and enjoy some gentle interaction with trusted people, such as playing games with toys. Birds can become easily bored and frustrated if they don’t have enough contact with humans, so you need to think if you have time every day to dedicate to your bird. Birds need to exercise by flying in their aviary or around your home in a secure area, so even if you’re not that active a bird may suit your lifestyle.

Small pets such as mice generally live in a cage inside your home. A mouse is likely to cost you around $1,000 throughout its life.

Mice are nocturnal, and will be active and sometimes noisy at night. It’s worth checking if this applies to the pet you’d like to get, if you’re planning to keep them anywhere near to where people sleep!

Mice are generally friendly and can enjoy lots of interaction with us, if gently handled from a young age. They’re active animals, and enjoy playing games playing with toys, but as this can generally be done in a secure area of your home, even if you’re not that active, you’ll be able to keep a small pet happy and healthy. You will need time to play with your small pet every day and will need to regularly clean out their living environment.

Guinea pigs need to be kept in a large, outdoor hutch with free access to a large run, so you need a garden big enough to accommodate a hutch that’s at least 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high with the run beside it.

Guinea pigs need the company of another guinea pig as they are very sociable. It will cost you around $400 to buy your guinea pigs, along with everything they need to be happy and healthy. Guinea pigs can live to be 8 years old but their average lifespan is around 4 years. Throughout their lifetime your guinea pigs could cost you up to $7,000 – around $70 a month, but this doesn’t include vets bills so if your guinea pig is sick or injured it could be a lot more.

Guinea pigs are generally very friendly and enjoy lots of interaction with us. They also enjoy keeping active by playing games with toys. As this can generally be done in a secure area of your home or garden, even if you’re not that active, you should be able to keep a guinea pig happy and healthy. You will need to spend time with your guinea pig every day and regularly clean out their living environment.

Guinea pigs have very specific dietary requirements so try to do lots of research before you decide they are the pet for you.

Rabbits need to be kept in a large, outdoor hutch with a large run which they can access when they want to throughout the day.

You need a garden big enough to accommodate a hutch that’s at least 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high and a run that is at least 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 2 feet high.

Rabbits need the company of other rabbits, as they become lonely and stressed if kept on their own. A pair of rabbits will live an average of 9 years and you can expect a pair of rabbits to cost you around $10,000 each throughout their lifetime. This is around $90 a month.

Rabbits are generally very friendly and enjoy lots of interaction with us. They also enjoy keeping active by playing games, burrowing and playing with toys. As this can generally be done in a secure area of your home or garden, even if you’re not that active, you should be able to keep a pair of rabbits happy and healthy. You will need to regularly clean out their living environment and spend lots of time with them every day, including taking time to groom them if they are longhaired.

Rabbits have very specific dietary requirements so try to do lots of research so you are well prepared.

Many cats are quite solitary creatures and prefer their own company to living with other pets. Although cats are generally happy to be left alone for longer periods of time, you still need to feed and check your cat at least once a day. Some cats are very social and enjoy spending lots of time every day with us and yet some cats don’t ever require companionship with humans. This can depend on their experiences as a kitten.

Cats need to be able to exercise every day. This can be outside in your garden but if this is not safely possible, cats can live inside. However, if you choose to have an indoor cat, think about how you can interact with them and what you can provide to make sure they can still play, chase, run, climb and scratch – all natural behaviours for a cat. Every cat needs their own bed or safe area where they can hide, food and water bowls and at least one litter tray per cat so you need to make sure you’ve got space around the house for these. You’ll also need to keep a close eye on their weight, and be prepared to clean out those litter trays at least twice a day!

Cats usually live to be between 12 and 15 years old but some cats can live much longer. Your cat may cost you up to $17,000 throughout their life – around $120 a month. This doesn’t include vets bills so if your cat is sick or injured it will cost you more. You’ll need to make sure you provide routine veterinary treatments such as vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and regular flea and worming products. It’s a big commitment to take on a cat and you need to make sure you speak to your vet, and maybe someone who already owns a cat to find out what it’s really like to own one.

Dogs are very sociable and enjoy spending lots of time with us. Dogs don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods of time and it’s not recommended to leave them alone for more than 4 hours. In your house, dogs need quite a large space as they need a private and safe area to sleep along with their food and water bowls.

Your garden needs to be secure and big enough for your dog to explore and go to the toilet. No matter how big your garden is, dogs need daily walks outside of your home and garden. Walks are not just for the physical benefits but for mental stimulation too. Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dogs exercise requirements, as a general rule smaller dogs like Yorkshire Terriers need between 20 and 60 minutes of exercise every day, no matter the weather!

Smaller dogs generally live for longer than larger breeds and can live up to 15 years old. Toy and smaller dog breeds are likely to cost around $20,000 throughout their life time – around $120 per month.

This doesn’t include vets bills, so if your dog is sick or injured it will cost you more and many people choose to have pet insurance to help prepare for these unexpected costs. You’ll need to make sure you provide routine veterinary treatments such as vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and regular flea and worming products. It’s a big commitment to take on a dog, and you need to make sure you speak to your vet, and maybe someone who already owns a dog to find out what it’s really like to own one.

Different breeds of dog have very different personalities and requirements so doing lots of research and finding the right dog for you and your lifestyle is key.

Dogs are very sociable and enjoy spending lots of time with us. Dogs don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods of time and can become destructive if they are panicking, anxious or bored – we’d suggest that they aren’t left alone for longer than four hours.

A dog will take up quite a bit of room in your house, as they need a quiet, comfortable and safe area to sleep, as well as somewhere for their food and water bowls, equipment, toys… and muddy towels!

Your garden needs to be secure and big enough for your dog to explore and go to the toilet. No matter how big your garden is, dogs need daily walks outside of your home and garden. Walks are not just for the physical benefits but for mental stimulation too. Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dog’s exercise requirements,medium dogs need around 1-2 hours of exercise every day, no matter the weather!

Medium breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs and generally live around 12 years. Medium breeds can cost you around $25,000 throughout their lifetime – which could add up to over $200 a month.

This doesn’t include vets bills, so if your dog is sick or injured it will cost you more and many people choose to have pet insurance to help prepare for these unexpected costs. You’ll need to make sure you provide routine veterinary treatments such as vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and regular flea and worming products. It’s a big commitment to take on a dog, and you need to make sure you speak to your vet, and maybe someone who already owns a dog to find out what it’s really like to own one.

Different breeds of dog have very different personalities and requirements so doing lots of research, finding the right dog for you, from a reputable source, is key.

Dogs are very sociable and enjoy spending lots of time with us. Dogs don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods of time and can become destructive if they are panicking, anxious or bored – we’d suggest that they aren’t left alone for longer than four hours.

A dog will take up quite a bit of room in your house, as they need a quiet, comfortable and safe area to sleep, as well as somewhere for their food and water bowls, equipment, toys… and muddy towels!

Your garden needs to be secure and big enough for your dog to explore and go to the toilet. No matter how big your garden is, dogs need daily walks outside of your home and garden. Walks are not just for the physical benefits but for mental stimulation too. Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dog’s exercise requirements, larger dogs such as Labrador Retrievers need over 2 hours of exercise every day, no matter the weather!

Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs and generally live around 9 years. Larger dogs can cost you around $30,000 throughout their lifetime – which could add up to over $250 a month.

This doesn’t include vets bills, so if your dog is sick or injured it will cost you more and many people choose to have pet insurance to help prepare for these unexpected costs. You’ll need to make sure you provide routine veterinary treatments such as vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and regular flea and worming products. It’s a big commitment to take on a dog, and you need to make sure you speak to your vet, and maybe someone who already owns a dog to find out what it’s really like to own one.

Different breeds of dog have very different personalities and requirements so doing lots of research, finding the right dog for you, from a reputable source, is key.

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