Choosing your pet

by Angela Hickey | 3 min read   August, 2023

The decision to bring a pet into your life and home is a big one and requires plenty of consideration and research. That fluffy bundle that is so appealing now may grow into a large, energetic dog, or a cat that could live for more than twenty years.  The pet you choose will be with you for life, which means many years of commitment to their care and welfare. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly!

Our in-house vet has put together some questions you should consider before choosing your pet.

  • Do you have children / grandchildren or is it likely you will in the future? 
  • Are you wiling to learn how to train both a pet and a child to live with each other safely and happily?
  • Are you in an apartment or house?
  • Do you have an enlosed garden?

Dogs are easily walked outdoors but cats will need a lot more care if kept fully indoors to prevent boredom and stress.

3. Do you prefer cats or dogs? 

  • Cats are more independent in general
  • Dogs need more of your attention and interaction

4. What traits are you looking for in a pet? 

  • Size 
  • Temperament
  • Purpose of each breed – what were they bred to do? Can you meet that need?
  • A small, active breed like a Jack Russel Terrier may need a lot more exercise and interactive play than a larger dog, like a greyhound, who wants to  relax on the couch all day!

5. What is the risk of hereditary illnesses?

Some pedigree breeds of cats and dogs have a high risk of serious illnesses so  do some research to  avoid high risk breeds.

Learn more about choosing a pedigree pet and their potential health problems.

6. How much time fo  you have to look after the needs of new pets?

Young puppies and kittens will need a big time commitment as they need to be fed often, house trained, and obedience trained. They also need play time, lap time and walks outdoors as well as trips to the vet etc. An adult dog on its own will also need a lot of companionship from you.

7. How much training will your new pet need? 

Get guidance on this from your local vet,  for trainers and obedience classes in your area.

8. Do you have other pets and will they be accepting of a new pet?

A lot of thought and planning is needed before introducing a new pet to one who is already established in your home, as it may feel like an invasion of their territory. Get guidance from your vet, trainer, behaviourist or animal charities.

9. Will your new pet need a lot of exercise? 

Providing this will be good for you both, but it does take commitment as it means getting out every day, in almost any weather!

10. Will your new pet need a lot of grooming? 

Long coated breeds need regular care which can be time consuming and also pricey, if professional grooming is needed.

11. What will happen when you want to go away on holidays?

  • Do you have family members or friends willing to mind your pet?
  • Will you need to pay for home visits or boarding? 

12. What costs will be involved?

  • Purchase price
  • Vet bills
  • Pet insurance
  • Food
  • Bedding
  • Equipment
  • Boarding
  • Toys

Vet fees can run into the thousands for common conditions so insure as early as possible to get full, lifetime cover.

12. Will your new pet be eligible for pet insurance? 

  • Age – pets over a certain age are subject to a percentage payment from you of all vet fees due to a higher risk of long term illnesses.
  • Pre-existing conditions – may lead to exclusions on your policy so the earlier you insure the better.
  • Breed – selected breeds may have some restrictions in cover.
Pets come in many shapes, sizes and temperaments but there is always one that will fit in with you and your lifestyle and become like an extra member of your family. Taking the time to research and fully understand the commitment you are making is important for both you and your pet. 
Information correct as of date of publishing. This blog will not be updated or edited, so the information may become outdated.
Angela Hickey
Allianz in-house vet and qualified psychotherapist.