Thinking of Getting a New Pet?

When considering taking on a new animal, there are many things to be taken into consideration-this can never be done on impulse, under any circumstances! This post, by no means, covers absolutely everything, but includes the basics. You can find more advice at your local Veterinary clinic, as well as from rescues.

The basic requirements you should think about:

  • Dietary.
  • Exercise and enrichment.
  • Housing size and type.
  • Veterinary and health care-annual vaccinations, treating for parasites, etc.
  • Insurance plans.
  • Social requirements, natural behaviours, and training.
  • What will you do, when you're at work all day, and away on holiday?
  • Commitment
  • The overall costs-food supplies, Veterinary care, insurance, care, etc.

It's vital that all animal's are provided with suitable nutrition, to allow them to develop, and support their needs. Many pet foods contain unnecessary fillers/bulking agents, additives, colourants, derivatives, etc, with an appearance which is attractive to the owner, but of no benefit to the animal. With smaller animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, it's common for them to selective feed, if they're provided with a muesli type food. For this reason, it's vital that they're provided with a monocomponent pollet, to allow them to receive complete nutrition. A brilliant website, with information for dog and cat foods, are The Campaign For Real Pet Food, and for dog foods, All About Dog Food.

Exercise and Enrichment
All animals have different requirements for exercise, which can vary further, dependant on life stage. It's vital that you research this. Animals who're not provided with adequate and suitable exercise and enrichment, can become mentally frustrated, and end up with behavioural problems.

Housing Type and Size
How much space are you realistically able to provide an animal? If you live in a flat, a dog is not an appropriate animal, as they benefit from regular access to a garden, for exercise, and toilet breaks. If you live on near busy road, it won't be safe to provide outdoor access to a cat, unless you have a specialised outdoor run area. It's not fair to keep, for example, rabbits, in a small, single tiered hutch. There're lots of guidelines, for the minimum space, for each species.

Veterinary and Health Care
All dogs, cats, and rabbits, require annual vaccinations, to protect them against deadly infections and diseases. Many pets require regular (sometimes monthly, or every few months, dependant on products) treating, against internal, and external parasites. Younger animals will require these more frequently. All dogs, cats, rabbits, should be neutered, to prevent future health and behavioural problems. There're lots of charities, who can help with the costs of Veterinary care, including neutering, and emergency care, such as Cats Protection, The Blue Cross, The PDSA, and The RSPCA.

Insurance Plans
It's recommended that every owner takes out an insurance policy, to help cover the cost of any emergency Veterinary care. Be sure to read the insurance policy details, as certain policies may cover different illnesses, but exclude others.

Social requirements, natural behaviours, and training
Each species had different requirements. Dog require lots of socialisation, with other dogs, people, as well as experiencing different environments. Cats, on the other hand, are home-loving animals, and prefer to remain in their own territory. Rabbits are happiest living in neutered pairs, or small groups-rabbit rescues will be able to help or advise with bonding. Most animals can be trained to do certain behaviours, but it's particularly vital for dogs, so that they understand how to safely behave and interact-they should attend behaviour classes, when they're young, which can be continued when they're older, working on a more advanced level-another form of enrichment.

What To Do When You're At Work, or on Holiday
As mentioned above, animals like cats, prefer to remain in their own, home territory. Amity Pet Care can offer individually tailored pet sitting visits, allowing cats to continue their normal home routines. Dogs should not be left for more than 4 hours, during the day, which they work up to, when they're young. If dogs are having to 'hold on', to go to the toilet, if they know not to go in the house, it can be detrimental to their health. Amity Pet Care can offer either a home visit, allowing for toilet breaks, and garden play, or a dog walk, to break up the day for them. Amity also offer Dog Day Care, and Dog Home Boarding services. Amity Pet Care are fully insured, inspected and licensed, as well as experienced.

Cats, and even some dogs, can live for about 20 years-the oldest dog we've cared for, was 19! Rabbits can live for up to 12 years, whereas smaller animals, such as hamsters, live for up to 3 years. If you're unsure whether you're able to commit for a long time, due to potential changes to circumstances or lifestyle, it may be better to start with something smaller, such as a hamster. It's unfair for animals, to develop a bond with one owner, and have to be rehomed, if there is a change-where possible, this should be avoided, but there're many rescue charities, who will be able to help.

The Overall Costs of Caring For a Pet
This is a basic list, of costs involved:
  • Supplies-bedding, cleaning products, bowls, accessories, etc.
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Veterinary-vaccinations, parasite prevention, microchipping
  • Grooming, if need to use a professional
  • Insurance
  • Holiday/daily care
  • Training classes

Where To Find a Suitable Pet
There're thousands of healthy animals, of all ages, shapes, and sizes, waiting for their forever homes, in the rescue centres and foster homes, throughout the country. There are even breed-specific rescues. All will be Vet checked, temperament tested, to check their suitability with children and other animals, will be neutered once old enough, up to date with their annual vaccinations, treated for parasites, etc, all for a very reasonable adoption fee (it would cost a lot more, compared to if you got all of the above done yourself). So many healthy animals are put to sleep, on a daily basis, because there simply is not enough room for them in rescue. Please see Amity Pet Care's Pet rescue Directory, for lots of local rescues. "For every rescue animal you adopt, you save 2 lives: the one you adopt, and the one which takes it's place."

Local Wildlife Rescues

Wildlife Aid (all wildlife)
Based in Leatherhead, but cover the Surrey area.
Tel: 09061 800 132 (calls charged at 50p/min)

Swans and Friends Bird Rescue
Based in Redhill, but cover the Surrey area.
Tel: (01737) 773712 or 07712 753919

Surrey Bat Rescue
Based in Reigate, but cover the Surrey area.
Tel: 07919 108525

Surrey Bird Rescue Centre (birds of prey)
Based in Kingston Upon Thames, but cover the Surrey area.
Tel: 020 8549 8104

Pigeon Recovery
Based in Sutton, but cover the Surrey area.
Tel: 020 8644 7349