BY DR NICKY THOMAS, WYNNUM MANLY VETERINARY HOSPITAL
Introducing a first pet or a new pet into your family can be a wonderful experience. Studies have shown that pets can help reduce social isolation and improve physical health by providing companionship through increased exercise and emotional and mental well-being. Before deciding to add a furry, feathery or scaley friend into your home, there are several things to consider.
Cost of care
Beyond the purchase price of a pet, there are ongoing costs (both foreseen and unforeseen) to consider. Pets such as dogs and cats require regular vaccinations and parasite prevention, and some breeds require frequent grooming. Animals such as birds and reptiles require specialised equipment, which may be expensive.
Do you work long hours or travel frequently? Who would look after your pet if you were to be away for any period of time? How much free time do you have to exercise or interact with a pet?
Do you live in a house, a townhouse or a unit? Do you have a big yard or have ready access to an area to exercise your pet? Do you own your property, or are you renting? Where would your pet stay if you had to move accommodation?
Length of commitment
There are some pets that live for a relatively short time (rats, mice, guinea pigs) and others that may live for many decades (large parrots especially). Are you willing to commit to caring for a pet for the length of their life?
Who else lives with you?
It is important to consider the existing members of your family. Do you have an elderly pet who might not cope well with the introduction of a bouncy puppy? Do you have small children or elderly family members who might be physically overwhelmed by a large dog?
Considering all of these factors before adding a pet to your home will ensure that you make the right choice for you and your family.