Recent research has shown that people are more likely to spend time deciding on which shoes to buy than where to get a puppy from. Choosing the wrong pet and the wrong place to get them from can bring huge financial and emotional problems and often leads animals to be abandoned or handed over to rescue centres.
Spending time looking into your chosen pet and learning about their particular needs can help both your family, and your chosen pet to live a long and happy life together. As a pet owner, you are legally required to provide your pet with its 5 welfare needs:
- Health – pets need to be protected from pain and treated if they are ill or injured. Did you know that the average vet bill is £300 and costs of fracture repairs or cruciate ligament repairs (a common injury for dogs) can cost several thousand pounds?
- Behaviour – pets need to have the ability to behave naturally. Did you know that dogs need daily exercise to keep them fit and stimulated?
- Companionship – pets need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals as appropriate. For example, rabbits and guinea pigs need to be kept in pairs or groups, whereas Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and should be kept alone.
- Diet – pets need to be provided with a suitable diet. Did you know that feeding rabbits ‘muesli-type’ diets is damaging to their health? Did you know that over 60% of vets think that obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern for pets in the UK?
- Environment – pets need to be provided with a suitable environment with a comfortable place to rest and sufficient space to exercise. Did you know that rabbits need a minimum space of a 6’x4’x2′ shelter permanently attached to an 8’x4′ run and need to be kept in pairs?
If you are not sure what is the best pet for you, or where to get your new pet from, there is lots of information online, or your local veterinary surgery will be very happy to speak to you.