Pet owner responsibilities
A new pet is exciting, but owning a pet long-term is a responsibility and it is important that you choose a pet that is right for your lifestyle, budget and home environment.
You must think about all of the following before you buy a pet:
- if you can you take care of a pet its whole life
- if you can afford a pet
- if you have time to care for a pet
- if anyone in your home has pet allergies
- if your home is suitable for a pet.
Buying a pet means you have a duty of care to that animal. If you do not care for your animal you could face penalties for not providing the minimum level of care.
Pets for life
A dog's life can span between 10 and 15 years, while cats can live up to 20 years.
During your pet's life you need to think about them each time you plan a holiday and when you move house.
You need to think about your pet when your lifestyle changes eg: if you have children or decide to introduce other pets.
There are many costs involved with owning a pet.
As a guide, the ongoing costs for a dog can easily add up to $1,500 each year and $750 for a cat. This is not including vet costs.
You should work out costs for all of the following items to see if you can afford a pet for life:
- cost of a pet
- identification - micro-chipping, identification tags
- basic food
- fresh food
- water and food containers
- holiday care at home or in kennels
- vet checks and treatments
- grooming - hair and nail cuts, dental fees, brushes
- collars, leash, halters
- buying and maintaining a bed, kennel, shelter, tank, outdoor run or stable
- property fencing, gates
- routine protection from ticks, worms and fleas
- training costs
- pet insurance.
Time needed for your pet
Different pets need different levels of care and attention.
When choosing a pet, think about how much time you can give them every day.
You need to give your pet time for all of the following:
- food and water
- exercise, attention and play
- cleaning their living environment
How suitable is your home
Think about your home now and in the future for the type of animal you want to buy.
Rental or shared accommodation can make a difference.
You should discuss your intention to buy a pet with you landlord and housemates before committing.
Think about all of the following:
- is your home is secure and large enough
- a puppy may dig up your garden or chew your shoes
- if the pet is going to be an indoor or outdoor animal, or both
- if there is shelter from rain and heat while your pet is outside
- if you have a pet already, how will this pet react to another pet.