Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Owning A Pet

So, you’ve got your own place set up and have finally mastered the art of keeping your house plants alive. Now, it’s time to get a pet?

Having a four-legged friend to come home to every day is an absolute joy, but don’t rush out to find your perfect pet until you consider this: pets are not an impulse buy. They’re a long-term commitment.

To make sure you’re pet-ready, we’ve put together some of the most important things to consider before bringing your new best friend home.

Finding The Right Pet For You

Choosing a pet is all about finding your perfect match. Yours is out there, we promise.

You might love Border Collie dogs but live in an apartment with no backyard. It’s not such a great match as a less energetic breed would be a better choice.

So, before you go about creating a forever home for your dream pet, do your research and make the right decision.

You may be surprised at what you discover – like the fact that greyhounds actually make amazing apartment pets because they spend most of the day sleeping and need way less exercise than you might think. If there’s a more relatable breed out there, we haven’t found it.

When you think about the kind of pet you want, cats and dogs might spring to mind, but there are so many possibilities. Lower maintenance pets include ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds, and they have just as much love to give.

Image: Zhenhao Liu / Unsplash

Where To Find Your New Best Bud

Before buying from a breeder or pet shop, keep in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of unwanted cats and dogs in Australia, many of which are euthanised if they cannot be rehomed.

If you’re looking for a great reason to adopt, not shop, animal rescue groups and organisations such as SAFE are always searching for loving homes for abandoned animals. You’ll enjoy the added benefit of knowing you’re doing a really good deed by giving one of these beautiful animals a loving home.

Keep The Cost In Mind

We’re not talking about pet food and a couple of squeaky toys here. Make sure you have an idea of how much money you are prepared to shell out if, God forbid, your pet gets sick or injured.

A trip to the vet isn’t cheap at the best of times, so if your pet has a serious issue, it doesn’t take long for the costs to climb into the thousands of dollars.

If you’re worried about having money on hand at all times in case of an animal emergency, you can consider taking out pet insurance. RAC Pet Insurance, for instance, can cover up to 80 percent of eligible vet costs up to $12,000 per year* for cats and dogs. RAC also offers a handy Tender Loving Care benefit*, which can go towards keeping your best bud healthy through preventative treatments like vaccinations, micro-chipping or prescribed pet food. Pet insurance definitely takes the financial stress out of pet ownership.

Consider Your Living Situation

Most of us find ourselves renting when we first move out of home, which generally means negotiating whether we can have a pet or not with our landlord or real estate agent.

The general rule of thumb across Australia is that you need to have your landlord’s written consent before keeping a pet. This should be added to your lease agreement, so everyone has a clear picture of what is and isn’t allowed.

Image: Paige Cody / Unsplash

Pet-ownership laws vary state-to-state, too. In Western Australia, for example, you may be required to pay an additional bond of up to $260 to ensure the property owner is covered if your furry friend causes any damage that requires repairs, like scratched floorboards or marked walls.

If you’re a new home owner, a pet may be an adjustment – especially if it’s your first fur baby. Pets need a clean, comfortable and secure home with space indoors and outdoors to sleep, eat and play. If you’re leaving them at home, start training your pet to be comfortable on their own and leave things for them to play with if you’ll be out for extended periods of time. It’s also a good idea to look into pet daycare, which is becoming more and more popular.

Enjoy The Everyday Together

Your new pet will love spending time with you, so make sure you can allocate time each day to giving them the love and attention they need.

If you’re buying a puppy or a kitten, make sure you’ve thought about how and when you’ll teach them good habits, like toilet training and socialising with other dogs, cats and people.

If you’re getting a dog, get the heads up first on how often your chosen breed needs to be walked and make sure you can live up to that commitment. On the plus side, taking your pup walking is a great way to keep fit, get outside, and switch off.

Make A Forever Home

Make sure you’ve got a stable home that your new pet can call theirs forever. Think ahead. If you’re planning on jetting off to spend a year working in Europe, what will happen to your pet? Will your parents be up for babysitting duties that last until 2020? Planning ahead is important for pet owners.

If you’re ready to welcome a pet into your home, then smile, because your life is about to get a whole lot happier, messier and more fun. Now you’ve considered the whole picture, you can relax knowing that you’re totally ready to be a pet mum or dad.

(Lead image: Erda Estremera)

Pets are your best friend and to them, you’re everything. Get them covered with RAC Pet Insurance online and save $50 for the first year.

*Disclaimer: Conditions, limits & exclusions apply. RAC Insurance Pty Limited is authorised by RACQ Insurance Limited (ABN 50 009 704 152, AFSL 233 082) as an agent to issue RAC Pet Insurance. Read the PDS before making any decision. Discount applies to the first year of insurance only.