Pets are a part of the family in many Australian households, and that's no surprise when you consider how much joy they can bring into your life. Whether you're a cat or dog person, adding a furry friend into your home can be a rewarding experience for both you and your family.
However, it's important to realise that pets do represent a significant commitment. As a potential owner, you will have the responsibility to care for them and ensure they have everything they need to be healthy, safe and happy in your home.
If you're thinking of purchasing a new pet for yourself or your family, here are a few essential guidelines to keep in mind.
You have several options when it comes to finding your new furry friend. The most common sellers in Australia are pet stores, animal shelters, registered breeders or private sellers. Unfortunately, there are some scams circulating in the pet market and it's important to be aware of these lest the consequences take you by surprise.
Any reputable pet store, rescue group or breeder should have no difficulty showing you proof of the animal's medical and vaccination history. This is crucial for any new owner, especially if you're buying a puppy or kitten as you will need to follow a strict timeline of vaccinations and other treatments.
If your seller can't give you proof or seems hesitant about following up on these requests, it's best to choose your animal from another source.
If you can, try to see the animal in the place where it was born and check if you can see the mother and father as well. This way you can see for yourself whether the animal was cared for adequately and raised in good conditions.
Be cautious about buying from online sources, especially if a seller is offering pedigree pets at much lower price.
Your pet will need ongoing medical care throughout its life, from regular check ups at the vet to any extra treatments that may be required. You can ensure they will have the best of care by arranging your pet health insurance ahead of time.
Depending on the policy you choose, you can get cover for accident or illness expenses only or comprehensive cover for routine needs. Comparing health insurance plans is essential to find the most suitable plan for your pet's needs, so it may pay to talk to an experienced broker.
Every pet is different, and you should think carefully about how a particular breed of dog or cat will fit into your lifestyle. Some breeds require plenty of attention, exercise and grooming – this may not be suitable if you lead a busy life with almost no spare time, or if your physical activity level is more limited.
On the other hand, if you don't spend a lot of time outdoors it's best to find a pet that will be happy staying with you in a mostly indoor environment.
Another aspect to consider is how the rest of your family will react to the new pet and vice versa. Some breeds tend to adapt better to young children than others. If you are worried about the safety of your little ones, be sure to ask an expert about what type of pet would be most suitable.
If you already have other pets in your household, make sure any new additions won't ruffle any feathers. Some pets might resent the intrusion of a new animal into the house, while others will appreciate having another furry friend to play with.