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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Learn more about what changes you may need to make before offering a dog 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 a dog, fully aware of the costs and responsibilities involved!

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.

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.

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 and finding the right dog for you and your lifestyle is key.