Getting a pet isn’t something you should enter into lightly. A pet is a big responsibility that you’re entering into for as long as the animal lives. If you want to feel confident that you’ll be giving the pet you choose the best care possible – and meeting your obligations under the UK Animal Welfare Act of 2006 – then it’s a good idea to plan in advance. If you make a plan for pet ownership, then you can put it into action feeling confident you’ll be giving your chosen pet the home it deserves.
The first hurdle you might have to overcome is your landlord. If you’re renting, you may find that your landlord has included a ‘no pets’ clause in your contract – this is a common practice despite pressure from the government on landlords to relax their contracts.
If you do find your landlord has excluded pets in your contract, don’t be put completely off. Landlords (especially individual landlords, rather than letting agencies) can sometimes offer some flexibility. If you decide to ask, be straightforward and polite, leveraging any prior experience you have with the pets in question. The most they can say is no, and you’ll know to look for a more pet friendly landlord next time you move.
A Home For Your Pet
Now take a look around your home. Most pets need a particular environment in order to feel safe and happy (or even survive!). Can you provide a room (or corner) for a dog or cat to call its own while it gets settled in? Do you have easy access to the outside for walks, exploring and toilet trips?
If you’re choosing a pet like a lizard or fish that have very particular habitat needs, can you supply those needs? If you’re not able to keep a necessary air pump or heat lamp on then you could be risking your pets’ health and it may not be the best time to get one.
You’ll need to register your pet at the vet as soon as you can when you get them. This is to ensure you’re doing your bit to protect them from injury, illness and suffering, as per the Animal Welfare Act.
Look for a vet online and think about the options in your area – will you be able to get your pet to the vet in an emergency?
Pets can be expensive – and you don’t want to find this out after you’ve got one! Try and find out how much your chosen pet will add to your monthly bills – in food, equipment, travel, vet’s bills or insurance and even the cost of utilities – fish tanks can use lots of water and electricity!
Make a budget and make sure you can really afford your pet and you’ll know that your plans are going well!