Before you make the leap into pet ownership, it’s worth considering how much time you have, your budget and the type of property you live in to help decide which pet is best for you.
There are many reasons for wanting to own a pet. Walking a dog can improve your fitness, while stroking a cat is good for your blood pressure.
In a recent survey of Rent.com.au‘s renter database, it was clear that Australia’s renters felt pets played an important role in improving your wellbeing. With that in mind, you should never go out and adopt a pet without first deciding on what type would best suit your lifestyle.
From cats to dogs, goldfish to birds, there are so many animals you can choose from – but each comes with considerations that need to be taken into account.
#1 How much time do you really have?
Anyone who has spent much time around puppies knows they are time-demanding. Puppies cannot be left alone for hours, they’re like babies and need play time, including socialisation with other dogs. So if you’re working 9am – 5pm and can’t have anyone around to keep an eye on your playful friend, you might need to shelve your dog-owning dreams for the time being. If you do work full-time and decide that you’d like a dog, ensure you have reliable people in your life who can look after the dog while you’re out. Consider arranging a dog walker to exercise your pet.
A cat, however, can be a less demanding pet and may be a better option for renters who work longer hours. Cats can generally fend relatively easy for themselves and don’t mind being left to their own devices for extended periods. If this sounds like it would be better suited to your lifestyle, a smaller pet – i.e. a rabbit – could also be a good fit.
#2 Where do you live?
Do you have a property with a big garden? Or do you live in an apartment block? The type of rental property you live in should be taken into consideration. A dog will need room to run and do its business. Consider whether the space you have is enough to keep your pet stimulated. Some landlords do not allow larger pets such as dogs and cats but might allow the keeping of small pets (such as goldfish) only.
#3 Can you financially support having a pet?
Like it or not, pets can be expensive. Aside from the initial cost of adopting a pet from a shelter, you’ll need to prepare to purchase a bed, food, regular veterinary treatment, cat litter, a travel cage and toys. Before you think about getting a pet, consider whether you can afford to pay several hundred dollars at a time for veterinary treatment. If not, you may want to think about setting aside money for pet insurance.
#4 How long is a pet going to live?
A pet is for life, so don’t go into your rental property expecting you’ll only need to look after your next pet for a few years. Small dogs will live on average for around 11 years, while larger dogs can live up to around 8 years. Cats, on the other hand, have an average lifespan of 15 years but they can live into their twenties. A rabbit will live somewhere between 9-12 years and goldfish, if well cared for, can live for decades. Guinea pigs will live on average until they are 4 or 5 years old.