Choose a pet that will suit your lifestyle


If the family does not spend much time at home because of work, school and social commitments, having a pet, which relies on you to fulfill its needs for the whole of its life, may not be a good idea. As pet owners we will need to spend time exercising, socializing, training and grooming. We may need to forego enjoyable activities to attend to the needs of a young puppy or kitten.  Like any relationship it needs commitment and has to be worked at. Sometimes the best way of being a responsible pet owner is not to have a pet at all. 


Important things to think about :

  • How often are you home? If you work long hours, a dog may not be a good choice of pet, as all dogs require lots of companionship. In this case, pets such as fish might be more suitable.
  • Do you have young children? Some types of pets tolerate children better than others.
  • How much time do you have to exercise your pet? Dogs need daily walks, and some breeds of dog are more energetic than others, and may require longer or more frequent walks.
  • How much time do you have to train your pet? Dogs, particularly puppies or young dogs, will require time spent on toilet training and basic obedience training. Puppies and kittens also require lots of socialisation, and regular small meals throughout the day, during the first 6 months of life. You may be better off adopting an adult dog or cat, who is already house trained and socialised.


Consider your home environment

Your immediate environment, indoor and outdoor, is an important factor in choosing a pet.  Prior to purchasing a pet it is important to look at your home to determine its suitability.  A general rule of thumb for dogs is the bigger they are, the more space they require. This does not mean that small dogs are less active, they simply need less room for activity.

Consideration must also be given to where you want a cat to live. Some cats are happy to live inside permanently. You may want your cat to live indoors and have access to outdoors in a controlled area.  There are many ways of providing such environments that can be creative, interesting and safe for the cat. These areas can be costly to set up, however there is no doubt that cats living in secured environments will live longer.  Alternatively, you may want your cat to stay outside during the day and only come inside, or be adequately confined, at night.   Most accidents that happen to cats, happen at night.

Statistically, cats that are confined have a life expectancy of 12 years while cats that are allowed to roam freely have a life expectancy of 3 years. Cats fighting, diseases such as feline aids and being hit by cars are major factors in shortening their lives.  If you choose to allow your cat to roam during the day, where you live becomes an issue. Cats are natural hunters and they will kill wildlife regardless of whether they are well fed or not.


Research suggests that the average family cat kills approximately 32 animals a year, which is a consideration if you are living in close proximity to an area such as a Wildlife Reserve or a National Park.

You will also need to check with your local council regarding any local orders, relating to cats and dogs, which have been made in the area. Consideration of breeds, which suit the environmental conditions, is important.


Important things to think about - your home and pets:

  • How large is your backyard, and do you have good fencing? If you have a small backyard and/or poor fencing, then a dog may not be a good choice. You could consider a pet such as a cat that lives indoors with you.
  • Are you renting? Your landlord may not allow you to own a cat or a dog. You may want to consider other pets such as fish.
  • Do you live in an apartment? Some birds, such as parrots, can be very noisy, and may attract complaints from neighbours. You may want to consider a quiet pet such as a cat, or fish.
  • Are you prepared to have your pet inside with you? Dogs should not be left in the backyard all day - they need to spend time inside the house with you, in order to remain happy and healthy.


Choosing a Pet info courtesy of Bureau of Animal Welfare.