What a memory it is meeting your pet for the first time and bringing them home. For many people these days, our pets are an important part of the family. But it is key to remember that a pet of any kind requires commitment. While it is a rewarding bond, purchasing a pet for yourself or others is not a decision to be made lightly. It is important to research various factors such as the place of purchase, the best pet or breed for your life style and what is required to care for their needs physically and behaviorally.
Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity of purchasing new pets, we have also seen an increase in the number of people being scammed. It is too easy for someone to place an ad on social media, take a deposit and never be heard from again. Look into the breeder or organisation and if you can, visit the facility prior to adoption. Do the animals seem happy? Are they in safe and hygienic conditions? Will they have received prior veterinary checks, vaccination and parasite prevention? Protect yourself and ask questions.
All pets require a large financial commitment over their lifetime. The initial purchase is usually the cheapest part. As well as annual vaccinations and other veterinary services, pets require food, ongoing parasite prevention, grooming, toys, bedding, dental care and training. It also may mean boarding or house-sitting costs.
Different pets and breeds will of course require different levels of stimulation and exercise. Kelpies are known for being high energy and are likely to require much more physical activity than say a greyhound who may more suitable for apartment style living. Think about if you are more suited to a large breed, a small breed, one who is good with kids, a young or an older animal. Perhaps a cat, a rabbit or maybe even a reptile. Also, research what types of medical conditions these animals may be prone to and ways to prior screen for these issues or how address them during their life-time.
The time commitment required to give a pet a good quality of life can be huge. Young animals especially require a lot of help adjusting to their new environment. They need training, stimulation and facilitation of their natural habits to become well-rounded. Toilet training is one aspect that can at times be quite difficult. Consider other pets in the household and how they may deal with new additions. It helps to introduce pre-existing pets prior to adoptions or have a trial period to ensure it is the right fit.
I would caution buying pets as gifts in particular, as this can present its own issues. There is higher risk of neglect with pets ending up in shelters in these cases as people may not have the ability to care for the animal or may not have wanted the animal at all. Ensure that the pet is age appropriate. Often parents buy pets for young children as gifts but I also frequently see grown up children buying pets for their elderly parents. Young pups and kittens are at times unpredictable and have sharp nails and teeth and do require training.
If you are unsure if owning a pet is right for you or you cannot make the long-term commitment, consider fostering an animal. There are plenty of local organisations that are always looking for new foster carers, volunteers and donations.