Welcoming a new fur baby into your family can be one of the most exciting things that will happen in your life. If you’re anything like me animals can sometimes be better company than people. They are loyal non-judgemental and provide unconditional love when others can’t. While it is such a rewarding and amazing experience, having a pet can take a bit of getting used to and there are some important things that you will need to take into consideration if you are looking at getting a new family member.
Where can I get a pet from?
The answer to this question will depend on your stance for animal rights. My husband and I really wanted a King Charles Cavalier puppy so picking a reputable breeder that looked after their dogs was our priority. Our kitten was a rescue kitten from a local vet that we saved from euthanasia after coming from a horrible family. Adopting can be so rewarding for everyone as you know you have saved an innocent life however if you are looking for a particular type of pet I would recommend looking around for a reputable breeder that treats their puppies and their moms humanely and with love. Pet stores are not a great option due to their support of puppy mills as well as the way the pets are treated in store.
How much will it cost?
How long is a piece of string? A rough idea is $1200 for the first year and then approx. $500 a year after that however this really depends on your choices for your fur baby.
Things to remember:
- $100 one off fee council registration
- $120 microchipping
- $300-$500 spay/neurtering (this will depend on sex/breed/size) *Note females are often more expensive that males and the operation is slightly more intrusive
- $70/month pet insurance
- $60/month grooming desexing
- $200/year annual vet bills (including immunisations, heart worming and check ups)
* Additional vet costs if your dog is like mine and jumps off the couch/bed all the time you might become a regular at your local vet
How much time do they take up?
I’m a big believer in the idea that if you don’t have the time to spend with your fur baby maybe you’re not quite ready for one. MY husband and I both work full time but we go out of our way to spend as much time as possible with our babies.
How to spend time with your fur baby:
- small walks before and after work will break the day up for them between naps
- lots of play time with toys at home
- big long walks along the beach or to the local park depending on where you live
- if we go out on a work night, we always try to take her with us or my mum will come around to babysit
- picking alfresco dining options so that she can come with us on weekends (we are lucky where we live as most of the dining options are outside)
- planning doggy outings such as to the local park for a picnic or to the local dog cafe
If being home is going to be an issue for you, a cat may be a better option. Cats tend to sleep most of the day and as long as they get a quick cuddle, food and company on weekends they tend to be fine.
How often do they need to be groomed?
The answer to this depends on the kind of dog you get. Having a King Charles Cavalier and living in quite a warm environment we get our little girl clipped every 6 weeks to keep her coat nice and short.
My biggest tip would be if you are looking at a long eared/haired puppy you will need to brush them quite often to ensure their fur does not become matted. Cats on the other hand don’t require any grooming, in fact if you try to go near most cats with a brush I’m pretty sure they will come off better than you will J
Where will they sleep?
This is a very personal decision. Our little girl sleeps in the bed with us however this is not for everyone. If you do not want them on the bed but are happy for them to be in the room with you (or in another room in the house), set up a little bed with a blanket and some toys so they can still be near you but they have their own space which they will love.
We took our little girl to obedience school for one term (6 weekly sessions) and it was one of the best things we did. She learned to sit, stay and come on command, all cues we still use to this day (especially with controlling her around food!).
We are very lucky where we live that our girl can socialise with lots of dogs of all different sizes so she is very confident around other dogs and crowds of people. If you aren’t in an area where your dog can socialise I would highly recommend looking into socialisation as well as obedience puppy training to ensure your dog is comfortable in different situations.
What brand of food to use?
There are a number of great vet approved meal options available for your pet and sometimes it will just be up to what your pet prefers. When we first adopted our cat he had a some digestive problems barely able to keep anything down (poor baby!). The only food he could stomach was the Royal Canin Indoor Cat food which we have continued to use for the past 4 years and he loves it. It’s great because it is calorie controlled and specifically designed for indoor cats.
Our dog eats the King Charles Cavalier Royal Canin food, however it wouldn’t really matter for her as she will eat absolutely anything.
Having an indoor cat?
When we adopted our cat we had to make the decision inside or outside cat? After A LOT of research we made the decision to keep him inside for his own safety.
How we make him feel better by being inside:
- We have a lot of big windows that open up onto the street so he can sit in the windows, get fresh air and watch what goes on outside.
- We purchased a big cat tower so he could climb and play on a whole heap of levels.
- His sister (our dog) plays with him all day long running around the house.
- Lots of empty cardboard boxes around the house tend to provide hours of entertainment.
He would still love to escape the house however with the record numbers of cat poisonings, the fact that we live on a busy corner road and lots of other cats/big dogs that live around us, we will continue to keep him inside for his own protection. He is a very happy and relaxed cat that loves being a part of this family.
All in all having fur babies definitely fills a void in your life and our family definitely would not be the same without ours. Please just remember that fur babies may not be around for your whole life but you are everything to them for their whole life so only make one a part of your family if you have the time and love to give them. Your life will change slightly however we have found incorporating them into our lives means the changes to our lifestyle have been minimal and it is so much fun!
*They are great for helping to get to know your neighbours as well because everyone wants to pat a cute little puppy on your morning walk.