Families come in all shapes and sizes and no two are exactly the same, but one thing’s for sure adding a furry addition to your family can be a game changer.
But pets can be a challenge, expensive and time consuming so ensuring you get the right fit for your family is essential. An open mind, not to mention an open heart, will help you decide who you will be welcoming as the next member of your family.
In this article we take a look at the pros and cons of pets, which furball might be best suited for your circumstances and what you might expect in those first few days.
Ignore the rhetoric about being either a car or a dog person, it’s entirely possible to just be an animal person and if you feel like that, then you’re giving yourself way more choice when it comes to choosing a pet.
Cats make great pets and whatever anyone says about them not being loyal is quite wrong. You can expect your felines to rush down and greet you when you come home from work and make a cosy sleeping companion, often curled up at the end of your bed. Sure, that level of friendship isn’t as intense as with a dog but having a cat, or even two, is nevertheless a rewarding experience.
If you are getting yours as a kitten, those early days are a mixture of much hilarity and ruined curtains. Your nervous youngster will need time to settle into their new surroundings and will often disappear behind bookcases, up chimneys or anywhere away they can hide. Patience is the key and eventually your kitten will come to terms with their new home and begin exploring in earnest.
Make sure your new pet comes from a reputable source and is neutered, wormed and received flea treatment. Have them registered with your vet when you take them in for their inoculations at around three months.
The downside? Cats are more independent and won’t pine for you when you close the door and head off for work. This can make them seem aloof but spend time with them and they’ll reward you for it.
Quite simply one of the most rewarding relationships you can invest in and one that will become part of the family in no time at all. Your dog will quickly find his place in the pack and become a loyal protector and companion to everyone in your family.
Dogs are, of course, slightly more high maintenance than cats and that early training is essential for a harmonious co-existence. Train your dog early to come to heel, not bark when left alone and leave objects when commanded. Trainers will tell you that a reward-based programme is far more effective than a fear-based version so get plenty of treats in to show your pup his obedience is well worth his while.
Like a kitten, your puppy is likely to feel overwhelmed when he first arrives, so keep the environment calm and create a safe space where you can pup can sleep without interruption. The crate training technique is a great way to teach your dog the ins and outs of house training and where to sleep.
One other great advantage to dogs is how they bring the family together and out in the open air. Pack a bike for the kids, load everyone in the car and take everyone out for a long walk/ride. Fresh air, exercise and a friend for life, what’s not to love about being a dog owner?
A step up in size for sure but for the horse mad family who rides regularly, owning your own horse is a logical step. These beautiful loyal creatures and easy to bond with and will greet you on sight when you visit. Naturally, the cost of owning a horse, from the feed to bespoke blankets from Horseware Ireland, can be substantial but becoming a horse owner is as much about your lifestyle as just a need to have a family pet and is not for beginners.
Choose your steed from a reputable dealer, with the advice of your stable owners to ensure you find an animal in great health and who fits the bill for your family of riders.
Fascinating and exotic, a lizard can make an excellent small pet. The outlay will be the greatest cost to absorb with the need for a heated glass tank, animal-specific foliage and lighting. You’ll also need to source a regular way of buying food as live locusts are unlikely to be found at your local supermarket!
But once you’re set up, these creatures make for a fascinating afternoon spent viewing their behaviour. Watch them hunt their prey, hide among the trees and take a quick bath. If handled from young, you will also be able to take your lizard out for short periods as well.
Introducing a pet into your family dynamic can be an exciting opportunity to bond over a new member. Before jumping in though, it’s always best to get prepared. Dogs, in particular, will need some careful research with the huge variety of breeds out there. If you’re looking for a low-allergenic breed that doesn’t shed or something in miniature, you’ll have plenty of choice so choose a breed that suits your home, your lifestyle and your family set-up.
You’ll need to ensure you can make time to take your pet for a walk and can start a training regime. Cats too will need some attention and time devoted to them but are perhaps a little easier to integrate into your lifestyle.
When it comes to horses, you’ll know best if becoming an owner is the right move and a choice that you can sustain in the long term.
Becoming a pet owner is a responsibility but one that is a real privilege and a pleasure so consider bringing an animal into your life for a fulfilling and fun-filled friendship.