You’ve invested in your first property and have settled in with your partner.
Often, buying a pet is the next step.
But for first-time pet owners, it can be a daunting commitment.
So what do you need to know?
1. Pets damage things
Although this isn’t a reason not to get a pet, you should be aware that they can do damage!
Your brand new carpet could quickly be tarnished by your pooch’s muddy paw prints and your couch could become your cat’s new favourite scratching post.
Just be aware that although puppies and kittens are cute, they can be a handful, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
If you’re concerned about your floor, have a look at this list of flooring materials for dogs.
2. Buy from a reputable source
If you’re planning on getting a pet, it’s important to make sure you purchase it from a reputable breeder.
Often, when buying a dog or cat online, the breed may not be what was promised or what you expected.
Especially for dogs, buying online could mean you’re purchasing from a “backyard breeder”, which usually aren’t licensed and can sometimes sell animals with congenital defects.
Try looking into rescuing a dog or a cat from the RSPCA or investing in a purebred from a licensed breeder.
3. Give your pet a smooth move in
This applies to two types of people: those who already own a pet and are moving them into a new place and those who have already moved into their place and are buying a new pet.
Either way, your pet will need to adjust to being in a new environment.
Make sure you familiarise them with all of their belongings so they feel at home.
If you have a new kitten or are relocating an adult cat, you should try not to let it outside for at least three weeks, so that it knows its new home well enough to know where to come back to.
Luckily, dogs are a little easier and don’t escape as easily.
4. Consider insurance
Pet insurance is something that often goes overlooked by pet owners, but for those who have just bought a new cat or dog (or horse), it’s something worth considering.
Although it may seem unnecessary in the early years, medical treatments and care can be expensive and you never know whether any unexpected illnesses or injuries might occur.
Something to bear in mind is that most dog and cat policies typically won’t allow you to take out cover after your pet turns eight, so even if it’s not a priority now, make sure you consider it before it’s too late.
5. Train your pet
Training is very important early on.
If there are sections of your house or apartment that you are hoping will be off limits to your pet, it’s vital to teach them as soon as possible that they can’t stray past a certain point.
Also, dogs in particular can get excited and damage things, so make sure you’re clear about where the boundaries are.
You also need to consider whether your dog or cat will be an “inside” or an “outside” pet.
If you have a lot of natural wildlife in your area, you might want to keep your cat indoors!
6. Don’t buy a pet unless you can afford it
A finder.com.au survey of 2,033 Australians found that dog owners would be willing to spend $4,128 on average on vet bills alone.
Cat owners are reportedly willing to spend less on their pet, at $2,137.
However, this goes to show that animals are expensive investments and when you buy a dog or a cat, you need to be ready to commit to the costs that might arise along the way.
If you don’t think you can afford to own a pet, don’t buy one.
Richard Laycock is an Insurance Expert at finder.com.au
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