Owning a pet is a very common thing to do, whether it’s a budgie, a dog, a hamster, or a cat – we love to have our furry (or feathery) companions by our sides whenever we have the opportunity. But phrases like ‘a puppy’s not just for christmas’ exist for a reason – too many people get a pet without thinking it through and instead of fostering a loving, healthy relationship with their animal they subject them to improper care and end up with unhappy animals, or even abandon their pets. So whether you already have a pet or you’re looking into getting one, you have to make sure you’re doing it in the right way for the right reasons – in light of whi9ch, we’ve put together this list of the best ethical practices when owning a pet.
- Adopt, don’t buy
Unless you’re dead set on having a kitten or puppy, or if you’re getting a pet as a show animal, it’s always better to adopt an animal from a rescue centre than to buy. For one thing, it’s better for you and your wallet – although there are minor charges such as adoption fees, rescuing an animal is much cheaper than buying one. Secondly, it’s a great way to help solve the pet abandonment crisis – a huge number of pets are rescued from abuse or abandonment every day, and adopting one of them frees up a space in a shelter for another one. Another great aspect of adopting is that you can also find an animal that suits your lifestyle and personality; an adult cat or dog (or other animal) will already have an established personality you can ask the rescue centre workers about to find the right one for you.
- Make sure you have enough space
Animals don’t like to be cooped up any more than you would – make sure you definitely have enough space for them to be running around and exploring, especially if you’re buying a cat. Some animals are indoor animals, and that’s fine, but you still need to ensure they won’t be confined to one room or area all the time.
- Be sure you’’ll be home enough
It is lovely to have a pet to come home to at the end of the day, but if you’re going to be out more than you’re going to be home then you should reconsider the timing of getting a pet – especially if you live alone. As long as there are some people at hime throughout the day and evening your animal will be fine, but pets need company just like humans do.
- Make sure you do your research
Animals need wildly different care. Hamsters need their cages changing and feeding, whereas chinchillas need to be given regular sand baths; long haired cats need regular brushing while short haired cats can be left to it. Some breeds of dog require a couple of hours of outside time in a day, while some are happy to sit on the couch with you. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you purchase or adopt an animal to ensure you’re both happy.
- Install a pet door
If you’re going to be out during the day, your pet should have easy access to the outdoors so they can explore, get some fresh air and use the bathroom. To achieve this you can install pet doors in any access doors to your yard – do try not to install any on doors which lead to roads, as this is dangerous. This will stop your pet feeling cooped up and keep the mess outside!
So there you have it, if you’re looking into getting a pet, that sounds great – just make sure to do it the right way.