Choosing a furry friend

Camille Condon
Summary 
Pets make great friends. They can make us feel good. But looking after a pet is an important job. There are many things to consider when choosing the right pet. You need to think about how much space you have. You also need enough time and money to look after them. Organisations like the RSPCA can give you information. Your local vet can also be helpful. Research can help make sure you find a pet suited to your needs.
Posted by: 
Camille Condon on 07/09/2011
A young Hovawart puppy. The puppy is golden in colour and sitting on grass.
puppy.JPG

Pets can make great friends

Pets not only make great friends. They can also help our health and wellbeing. But the decision to get a pet needs to be carefully considered. Pets are a big commitment.

The RSPCA recommends you first ask yourself several questions before getting a pet. The questions include:

  • Am I willing to commit to the animal for the next 15 years?
  • Do I have the appropriate home environment to keep a pet?
  • Do I have enough money to financially support the pet?
  • Do I have enough time to socialise, exercise, and care for the pet?

Each different type or breed of pet will have different care requirements. Research is very important. The RSPCA website (opens new window) has a lot of helpful information to get you started.

Which pet?

It may be difficult to determine what sort of pet is appropriate for your needs. The RSPCA has a matching system to help. It matches the needs and lifestyle of a pet owner with an appropriate pet. There is a simple quiz on the Pawfect Match website (opens new window).

Most types of pets can be companion animals. This includes dogs, cats, guinea pigs and rabbits. But it is important to match a pet with your lifestyle. For instance, if you cannot provide exercise for a dog, a cat might be a better option. Cats are very independent, need less care, and are more suited to living indoors.

Buying or adopting

There are many ways of purchasing or adopting a new dog. The RSPCA recommends you only purchase a dog from a breeder who is registered with the Australian National Kennel Council (opens new window). You can also adopt a pet from a shelter run by organisations such as the RSPCA or The Lost Dogs Home.

The RSPCA does not recommend buying a pet online or from a pet shop. They say you may be supporting a puppy factory or unregistered breeder.

Research

The RSPCA recommends discussing all concerns before taking on a pet. You can contact relevant breed clubs to discuss a particular breed. They can provide information on what that breed is like as a pet. They can also talk about the kind of care that breed will require.
If adopting from a shelter such as the RSPCA, adoption officers will be able to discuss any questions you may have. They will also make recommendations on which pet might be suitable for you.

Your local vet can also be very helpful. They can provide information on training your pet will need. They can also give you information about what sort of veterinary care may be needed for your particular pet, such as yearly vaccinations.

A little bit of research and careful consideration of your needs can lead to a wonderful relationship with a new member of your household.

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