Getting a new pet
Being the owner of a pet is a HUGE responsibility.
When you buy or adopt a dog or a cat they become a member of your family, a bit like bringing a new baby home from the hospital. Just like a baby, they will need lots of love and care for many years to come so it’s very important that you choose a pet that will fit into your family's lifestyle.
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before buying or adopting a dog or a cat.
Am I prepared to care for a pet for its whole life?
The average life expectancy for a dog or cat is 10-15 years. While puppies and kittens are adorable, they grow out of this stage very quickly and may undergo changes to their body shape and colour. You will need to be prepared to provide for an adult animal, and in the case of some dogs, a much larger animal.
Can I afford a pet?
There are many expenses when caring for pets such as: the cost of food; microchipping; desexing; Council registration for dogs; health care; veterinary care; grooming; enclosures; and fencing. A pet can be an expensive addition to the family. It is important to consider your lifestyle. If you like to go away on holidays, will your pet be able to go with you or will you need to consider the cost of putting your pet into a boarding kennel or engaging a pet sitter service?
Do I understand how to care for a pet?
Dogs and cats are not toys. They are companions for life and need constant care and attention. Pets are dependent on their owners for food, love and care. Even though an unpleasant task, daily cleaning of animal waste from your property is required to avoid unpleasant smells and vermin. Waste should be appropriately disposed of in a waste receptacle.
Do I know what my legal responsibilities are for owning pets?
Your pet is your responsibility. Under the Animal Management Act (Cats and Dogs) 2008, it is your legal responsibility to register and annually renew registration of dogs with your local Council. Cats and dogs are required to be microchipped. All animals must be contained on their property (including cats and poultry) and should not be let to wander from the property. When walking your dog, it is required to be on a lead at all times. Council provides off-leash parks where dogs can run off their lead as long as the park rules are observed.
Do I have time to care for a pet?
Caring for pets takes time every day as they require: exercising; feeding; cleaning up after; socialising; training; grooming; attention ; and to be played with. Dogs are social animals and need to be trained to ensure they understand their place in your family and how to behave when you are or are not at home. Barking dogs may cause a disturbance to the community around you resulting in complaints to Council. Take the time to talk to your neighbours and discuss what may be happening when you are not home.
Do I live in suitable accommodation with the ability to keep a pet in the house or in the yard?
If you are a tenant, do you have permission to have a pet? Do you have the ability to contain your pet on the property now and in the future? Do you have a suitable and secure pet enclosure or fencing?
Will a pet fit in with my lifestyle and priorities? What type of pet will fit into my lifestyle and priorities?
Different types of animals offer different sets of characteristics. It is important that you do your research and consider what sort of pet would suit your family best. Different breeds of animals may provide different temperaments and personalities that are a better fit for you and your household.
You will be responsible for not only your pet needs but all that your pet does.
Choosing a pet should not be an impulsive decision.