This is a guest blog by Amy Jackson – Animal Lover and Content Writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes
Pet ownership here in the UK has soared following this year’s lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. So much so that nearly half of Brits who own a pet introduced another one into their home during lockdown, while 10% of British households intend to bring a pet into their lives over the next few months. While this can be a good thing for all those furry creatures waiting to find new homes, pet charity PDSA warns that getting a pet on a whim without doing your homework first can have a negative impact on the animal’s physical and mental wellbeing. We all want to do the best for our pets, but failing to do our research beforehand means that we can’t always do that, and in worse case scenarios, it can result in abandonment of the animal. Doing your research is a lot more than just reading a quick article too, but initially, the questions you should be asking yourself are:
- Can you afford it? In addition to the initial costs for food, bedding, toys and so on, remember the additional costs for veterinary bills, insurance, microchipping and grooming too.
- Will a pet suit your lifestyle? Do you work away a lot? Are you limited with what you can do with your free time? Bringing a pet into your home is a big commitment, so ensuring that you can accommodate them with your lifestyle is a must.
- Do you or anyone in your household suffer from allergies? It may sound like an obvious one, but factor in any allergies people in your house might have – for example, certain dog breeds can be better for allergy sufferers, so this may affect the choice of breed you go with. Similarly, do you have any regular visitors to your home that have pet allergies?
- Do you have the time for training? Dogs of course will require training from an early age, and in the case of kittens you may need to be prepared to toilet train them. Make sure that not only do you have the time to invest in any training needs, but also be willing to clean up any accidents!
Life Post Lockdown
According to a report by the PDSA, ¼ of pet owners don’t do any research before they get a pet. Getting pets on a whim can often have a number of reasons behind it, one of which can be social media trends or the increasing popularity of certain breeds in TV shows and film. The recent lockdowns have meant more of us have considered getting a pet purely because we have a bit more time at home, but it’s important to consider life post-lockdown and how a pet would fit in. While at the moment, it’s hard to see normality returning any time soon, but if your pre-lockdown work day involved being out of the house from first thing in the morning to last thing at night, or constantly changing shift patterns, it’s important to consider how you can fit in your pet around this.
Dogs are a huge commitment, especially if you have never had one before. Many of us will spend hours comparing prices, amenities and pouring over reviews before booking a week’s holiday, so why wouldn’t you do this amount of research before you bring home a canine companion?
One of the main things to consider when it comes to getting a dog is whether or not you have the time to fit in those all important walks. With 16% of dogs being walked less than once a day, 24% being routinely left alone for more than 5 hours a day, a lack of exercise can lead to your pet becoming stressed, as well as obesity, which of course puts your dog at a bigger risk of developing health problems. Dogs will differ in terms of age, size and breed when it comes to how much exercise they need – for example, large dog breeds such as German Shepherds will require more than smaller breeds like miniature daschunds. Different breeds can also be known for certain behavioural traits and even developing certain health problems too – for example, bulldogs and pugs can be more likely to experience breathing problems due to their flatter faces, while labrador retrievers can be more prone to obesity. This is why if you’re set on getting a dog, you should not only do your research into dog ownership generally, but also the specific breed you want to adopt too. Our Perfect-Pets Essential Guides are a great way to learn the basics of the most popular dog breeds with advice on everything from feeding and exercise to first aid and vaccinations, so it can be a good idea to pick one up before you make any big decisions!
Feline Family Members
Cats are known to require less maintenance than dogs, but that still doesn’t mean you should bring one into your home without doing your research first. Cats love exploring and are notoriously curious, so the first thing to be aware of is making sure that your home is feline friendly. While they’re generally quite independent animals, they’ll still require plenty of stimulation through toys and attention, especially in the case of kittens. Consider what kind of cat would best fit into your household – if you have young children, you may be better getting a kitten that’s full of energy and who can grow up alongside them, rather than an older cat that just wants some peace and quiet!
It’s not just the age of the cat to consider either – like dogs, specific cat breeds can require more attention. Siamese cats can require more attention because of their temperaments, while long haired cats will need to be groomed more frequently for example. Again, this is why researching the needs of specific cat breeds is a must. Which Cat? is a great place to start, with plenty of information on the UK’s 20 most popular breeds, while our Essential Guide to Cat Care has everything you need to know before you bring your new feline friend home.
New In Town
As we mentioned earlier, nearly half of Brits introduced another pet into their household during lockdown. There are many benefits to introducing another pet into your home, especially if you think your pet could do with a playmate, but again, it requires some careful consideration. Just because you’ve already gone through introducing a pet into your home it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook the second time!
In particular, cats are notoriously temperamental and can be very protective over their territory. 43% of cats in the UK live with another cat, and 19% live with one they don’t get along with! It’s important that if you have more than one cat, that you have enough resources for them. Each cat should have their own litter tray, feeding bowls and so on, as having to share can often lead to chronic stress in cats. If you’re adopting from an animal shelter, you should look into which cats are used to other animals in the home, or if you’re getting your cat from a breeder, as if their home is shared with another animals too, so that when you bring your new fur baby home, they’ll already be used to having companions.
What about if you have a cat and want to bring a dog into your home, or vice versa? Again, this takes some careful planning and making sure you do everything properly is a must. Research breeds of cats or dogs that get on best with other animals, and if you adopt from a shelter, again do your homework to make sure that your new companion is used to company. It’s certainly possible for cats and dogs to live together, and if you want to know more, check out our guide to Dog Friendly Cats and Cat Friendly Dogs!
Ultimately, doing your research before inviting a pet into your home, regardless of whether or not you already have animals is key. Not only will it ensure the health and happiness of your pet, it will also ensure that you’re fully prepared for any eventualities that may come along!
Written by Amy Jackson – Animal Lover and Content Writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes – 2nd December 2020.