Tis the season when families across Australia are getting ready to buy one of their biggest Christmas presents, a pet!
Australia truly is a nation of animal lovers, with us having one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. It’s estimated that there are more than 25 million pets in Australia, with dogs being the most common pet of choice at 39%*.
The holiday season is one of the most popular times of year for families to make a new furry addition to their family, but there are some really important factors to consider before making the commitment of a new pet in order to make sure you’re making the right choice for your family and lifestyle.
Dr David Cunliffe, the General Manager of animal welfare at The Lost Dogs Home, has some great tips which will help guide you to choose the right furry friend to bring home this season.
Consider what your ideal companion would be, how will it fit into your lifestyle? Are you looking for a ruff and tumble dog to enjoy in the great outdoors, or a dog you can take out to the shops and relax at friends with?
If you and your partner work full time you also need to consider will your house have the space for your dog to roam. Alternatively, there are affordable solutions like local neighbours who can pet sit and dog walk while you’re out through Mad Paws, the local pet network. It is also worthwhile, considering what level of training you’re able to provide. A puppy or kitten will need a lot more training and have lots more energy than an older dog or cat which have more life experience.
Costs to consider
Pets are a life long investment, especially to your finances. A few things you need to include in your budget would be the initial cost of the pet like booster vaccinations, council registration, enrichment toys and training equipment, obedience training and agility classes. Also quality food, plus flea and worm control to keep your dog in good health, as well as future vet visits. Keep in mind that different breeds have different price tags in regards to their upkeep and different pet insurances.
Other family members
Do you have young children or other pets in the home? If so are you prepared to be a multipet household? Multipet households are very common but like humans, our pets won’t like everyone they meet, especially if they are rushed into co-existing with one another. You will need to have the time in your schedule and the space in your home to separate and slowly integrate your animals, and a plan if they just never get along.
Look beyond cute – it’s what’s on the inside that counts
Every dog and cat has their own personality and quirks that make them who they are. If you’re adopting, read up on the animal’s profile to see if they match what you are looking for. Even better, go along and meet them! If you’re buying from a breeder, ask what their personality is like. An overactive dog with a placid owner may not be the best match, for example.
Growing as a family
Where do you see yourself five to ten years from now? Keeping in mind you are the whole world to your pet, what is your plan for their future? Our lives change constantly and sometimes it is hard to know where we will be in five to ten years, but our pets rely on us to keep them in mind. Before finding a new forever friend, consider the future and how you will get there together.
Christmas time is a great time to give an otherwise homeless dog or cat a home, so consider adopting from your local shelter or animal welfare group, where you’ll not only be saving a life, but also adding a lot of joy to you and your family.
Are you thinking of buying a pet for Christmas? Let us know in the comments!