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Thinking About Getting a New Pet?

... Then Consider These Nine Factors

There are many fantastic reasons to bring a new pet into your home, whether it is your first pet or perhaps a new addition. They bring joy and excitement as a new additional member of the family. Pets can be fun for children whilst providing them with a sense of responsibility. They can provide company, love and positive energy to people when they are feeling down, and in general are good for our physical and mental health.

These are great reasons for keeping a pet, but this does not mean that you should rush and adopt the first pet you see. Selecting the right pet should take time and careful consideration. There are many factors to contemplate before bringing a new pet into your household.

Current Situation  

You must firstly consider your current situation and think about any future plans which may affect your pet. For example, if you live in a temporary home and are planning a move within the next year, then perhaps placing a new pet on hold until you are more settled is the best option. It can be stressful for a new animal settling as a pet in a new home, so moving again can be very upsetting. Do you have time to put into the care of a new pet and can you commit fully. Again, moving from unwanted home to home can be stressful for any animal. If you are at work all day, will the pet be alone? This can become a problem with many pets in terms of companionship, boredom, anxiety, exercise and training.
title Choosing the Correct species.

You must consider; which species is right for my family and my lifestyle? A dog may seem like a good choice, but they will require walks, exercise and training. Different breeds of dogs all vary with their personalities and requirements, can your family cope with these?  Rabbits require appropriate housing, enrichment and should be housed in pairs. Although they can make good pets, they are not so good for younger children. Many people get rabbits as a pet and once the novelty wears off they can become forgotten about. Do you have the time to spend at least twice a day accompanying the rabbits? Most reptiles require the creation of some type of artificial environment, such as vivarium. The actual purchasing of these artificial environments can be expensive, alongside the upkeep. Can you afford to house a reptile? Cats will require training, stimulation and exercise, so it is worth considering if the cat will be allowed outdoor access, or will the cat be kept strictly indoors. If outdoor access is allowed it can be hard to control the cat, and you should consider any roads with traffic or neighbours. If a house cat then you must ensure adequate attention, play, exercise and stimulation is provided. Can you satisfy the needs of a cat?

Younger Members of the Family

Pets are a great addition to many families with children of all ages, however, you do need to pay particular attention to younger children. Children should never be left unsupervised with a pet as animals can bite and children can unintentionally mishandle the animal. There 
have been many cases of dogs, and other animals, biting children because of mishandling. Many people misread the signals and warning signs prior to the bite.

Understanding of the Species/Breeds

It is important to research the species, and breed, of the considered pet and gain a good understanding of what is involved in terms of their care. The care involves all husbandry duties, appropriate diet, adequate exercise, mental and physical stimulation and also the natural habits for the animal in question.

Read up on the species, and breed, in terms of behaviours, body languages, communications, etc. It is worth noting when the animal may be unhappy or uneasy, and they are communicating warning signals which may trigger a bite. Dogs, for example, can perform lip licking or yawning when they are uneasy with the situation, and this usually follows on to a growl, then if required a snap or a bite.

All species of pets have their specific health issues and some are more prone to certain diseases. This is also worth researching. Some breeds of pets are also more susceptible to health issues, for example, German Shepherds can suffer hip dysplasia, and Bengal cats can
be prone to heart disease and progressive retinal atrophy.

Pet Friendly Household and Surroundings

Depending on the species or breed of pet you are considering it is definitely worth ensuring your house contains no hazards which may upset the health or the behaviour of the animal. This will vary depending on the animal in question. The surrounding area in which you
 live should also be suitable for the pet.

Some considerations you should take into account include:

  • Many plants can be toxic to pets. For example - Tulips, Corn plant, etc.
  • Ibuprofen can be lethal to cats and dogs.
  • Chocolate can very harmful to dogs and most other animals.
  • Grapes are toxic to dogs.
  • Household chemicals at pet level can be dangerous.
  • Fly traps, windows, open fires, are all possible hazards for a pet bird.  
  • Small furies chewing on electric wires.
  • Fast roads.
  • Estate land with hunts.  


In this day and age, the cost of living is getting more expensive and it is worth considering if you can afford the requirements of your new pet. Can you afford to feed the animal its required diet, and also upkeep of any husbandry duties? You need to consider routine health care, emergency health care, neutering and legal requirements, i.e. in some localities it is a requirement to microchip, etc.


Legislation is always changing and it is worth checking any relative legal requirements to keeping a new pet in your own locality. In some parts of Australia it is actually illegal to keep rabbits as pets as they are deemed pests. Depending on your locality, there are legalities which control how you feed a reptile, or the species you are allowed to keep. Some dog breeds require licenses and some are even banned. 

Consider Adoption

There are so many loving pets purchased each year, and so many end up being abandoned, neglected or handed into re homing centres. Many of these centres are at full capacity, and many animals end up being euthanized as a result of this. Rather as buying from the pet trade or breeding trade, it is definitely worth considering adoption. You can still adopt a young animal, if this is your criteria, and you would also be providing a loving home for an unwanted pet.    

Consider the Adjustment Period, Positive Training and Stimulation

Remember, any new animal you bring into your household will be stressed. This is a new experience for them and should always be done calmly. Let them become accustomed to their new surroundings. Sometimes the adjustment period can take hours, days and sometimes weeks, depending on the animal.

Training the new pet should always be positive and never harsh as this will make the animal mistrust you. All animals require some type of exercise and should also be provided with enrichment and stimulation accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about pets or even specific species of pets, then take a look at our Pet Care courses at:

and our online short courses at:

We also have a range of animal eBooks at:   

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