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Owning a pet is not something that should be done lightly. You have a responsibility towards that pet to ensure it is always safe and well-cared for.

While you can never fully prepare for welcoming a pet into your home, our pointers will help you make sure you know what you are in for.

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Which pet will be right for you and your lifestyle?

Needless to say, someone living alone in a small flat might benefit from a very different pet to someone who has several children and lives with their other half in a large house with a big garden.

Your lifestyle will also come into play. How much time do you have to devote to looking after a pet? Dogs need to be walked at least once a day, and should not be left alone for more than a few hours either. If you are going to be at work for a long time, a cat might be a better option.

Can you keep up with your pet’s exercise requirements?

This won’t be an issue if you have a cat, but if you opt for a dog you have to make sure it gets enough exercise. If you cannot walk it at least once a day, your dog could end up causing damage indoors through boredom.

There is also the issue of spending time with your pet. Cats may not need exercise in the same way dogs do, since they will usually go outside on their own. However you should still have some time to spend with them to make sure you develop a strong bond. Dogs will require some playtime and fun time with you, and perhaps the chance to snuggle on the sofa at night too!

Find a good vet

When you get your new pet, a trip to the vet is a good idea. You will need to register with them anyway, and the sooner you can do this the easier it will be to book booster injections, check-ups and anything else that needs doing.

Make sure you get your cat or dog microchipped

Having your contact details on your pet’s collar and tag is fine, but from April 2016 all dogs and puppies must also be microchipped. It is a good idea to have your cat microchipped too, especially since they may not wear a collar for safety reasons.

Microchipping helps ensure you get your pet back if they should get lost. Vets and many other public service personnel will know to scan the animal if it is found as a stray or has got lost. This will allow them to find your details in the database and return your animal to you as quickly as possible.

The Dog’s Trust is currently offering free microchipping.

Think carefully before you get any type of pet

This cannot be emphasized enough. Even if you spend some months considering all the pros and cons of having any kind of pet, you cannot really know what it will be like until you get one. So think carefully and ensure you make the right choice for yourself and for your pet.

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