Nearly half of all UK households have at least one pet, which, as we’re an animal-loving nation, is no real surprise. But when it comes to choosing the right pet to own, what do you need to consider?

Owning a pet is expensive, but some pets more so than others. A dog, for example, will cost considerably more in its lifetime than a hamster. It will also require much more attention and space, so your lifestyle and living arrangements are important too.

Ultimately, choosing a pet shouldn’t be something impulsive or that you do on a whim. It is a long-term commitment that will require big investment on your part, not just financially, but in terms of your whole lifestyle.

Budget:

The initial cost of buying or adopting your pet is only the beginning of the lifelong financial commitment. Throughout your pet’s life there will be ongoing and sometimes even unexpected costs. It is essential that you take these into account before making your decision and bear in mind that bigger pets and breeds will require much more food.

Costs may include:

Lifestyle:

We all lead busy lives, which can sometimes make pet ownership difficult. But it is very important to consider how busy you are, and therefore how much time you can realistically commit to your pet.

Dogs especially thrive off human company and interaction, so if you work long hours, have a packed social calendar, or travel a lot, then it might not be the best idea getting one, unless you have someone who you trust to step in and look after them occasionally.

Ask yourself how often you’ll be able to walk them and play with them and what they’ll do/where they’ll go while you’re at work. Every animal will be different and, while some will adapt to changing routines, others will really struggle.

Living space:

Your home and garden are where your pet will spend most of its time, so it’s essential that you have enough space to house them comfortably. The type of pet or breed that best suits your lifestyle and living space might not be the one you originally had your heart set on, so prepare to rethink this.

Even small animals like hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits need ample space to move around, exercise and play. Cats love to roam but don’t require huge amounts of indoor space, especially if they venture outdoors too.

Dogs need a moderate amount of room but, again, it depends on the breed. A Chihuahua might be happy in a small apartment, providing it is taken out regularly for the toilet, whereas a Great Dane would need something much more spacious.

Of course, if you rent, it is essential that you check with your landlord before getting a pet, and most rescues won’t rehome an animal without seeing confirmation of this agreement.

Feel free to comment below if you have any other suggestions on choosing the right pet!

Written by: Hannah Dyball