Thinking of getting a pet? It's a big commitment, so make sure you read this essential guide to picking the right pet for you
Owning a pet is a fun and rewarding experience. But every animal and their needs are different, so how can you make sure that you choose the right one for you? Here are some top tips from national pet charity Blue Cross, which this year is marking 125 years of helping sick, injured and homeless cats, dogs, small animals and horses.
Do your research
You may like the look of a particular pet but that doesn’t mean they’re right for you. Every pet has its own personality and certain breeds of animals often have strong traits, so think carefully about what you want from your pet and do some research before you take one on.
"Every pet has its own personality and certain breeds of animals often have strong traits"
Some breeds may also require more vet care than others. Flat faced breeds such as French bulldogs and pugs can suffer a number of health issues over their lifetime, including problems with their breathing and skin conditions due to their exaggerated features. We’d urge owners to really do their research before taking on one of these breeds.
Think about your lifestyle
For example, if you work full time and you want a dog, who would take care of them during the day? If you want a cat, will they have access to outside space while you’re out during the day?
Do some research on the size, temperament and exercise requirements of different pets to make sure they’re the right choice for you.
Do your sums
From everyday things like insurance, food and toys to unexpected vet bills, having a pet is certainly a financial commitment. Make sure you factor in how much your new pet will cost before you choose them.
Think about a rescue pet
Thousands of homeless pets are desperate for a good home. Charities like Blue Cross can offer support and advice about individual pets and help you find the right one for you.
"Thousands of homeless pets are desperate for a good home"
They will be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated so they offer great value compared to the outlay involved in buying from a breeder.
Use a reputable breeder
If you do want to buy a pedigree dog or cat, ask your vet or breed club to recommend a responsible breeder. Ask the breeder for all the relevant paperwork and see the pet’s parents/relatives/siblings to observe their temperament, general health and welfare.
Don’t purchase online or from dealers who offer multiple breeds or types of pets—these may well turn out to be puppy farmers or commercial dealers who have little interest in the welfare of the pets they sell.
For more information visit bluecross.org.uk
Read more: 10 Ways to create a hedgehog friendly garden
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter