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4 Things you need before getting a pet – but guess what people always forget

By Danielle van Wyk

The furry cuddles or pleasurable purring when you come through the door can be enough reason to want to get a pet. But, are you really prepared?

4 things you need before bringing your fur-baby home:

1. Potential owners typically have the basics like a dog/cat bed, food, water bowl, leash, tag and toys, but often forget space, says Wilfred Cawood, the marketing manager for Montego Pet Nutrition.
“Depending on the size of your dog you may need to consider ample space for them to run, so a decent sized yard would be ideal. This is vital for your pet’s development. If they are outside, dogs also need space for a proper kennel, that can shelter them from any weather and that are warm in winter. Lastly, an access point in and out of the house (such as cat flaps for cats) is also very important,” adds Cawood.

2. Another vital consideration is identifying a decent vet centre that you can rely on for advice in case of emergencies and where the pet can be inoculated.

3. Contrary to common belief you can not feed your pet whatever it is you’re eating. Depending on the type, age and breed of your pet, there are specific foods that they need. If you’re unsure of what these are, ask your local vet for advice or ask other pet owners.  

4. Training your pet could save you many headaches. They should be house trained to prevent any “toilet accidents”. They should also be trained to listen to their owner and not attack other dogs or people.

What are the typical costs involved?

The costs of the essentials will depend on what you buy. It will also depend on what you can afford.

“If you maintain the items purchased (i.e. wash them regularly) things like a leash, bowls and a bed will last a long time. Other essentials like food and certain treatments for ticks and fleas will be something you buy every month or even every second month.”

According to Cawood his estimated spend on average for one of his large breed dogs is R600 every month (including food and tick treatments), while his medium breed dog is about R400 and his cat is about R230.

The important factors when considering getting a pet

“Firstly, it is a commitment and relationship. If you don’t have the financial means to care for a pet, do not get one. Secondly, if you can adopt, do so. In terms of commitment, not only is it a financial commitment, but also commitment in terms of spending time with your pet, taking care of the needs of the animal and making sure that it has a fun, full life,” Cawood says.

How much does maintaining an animal cost?

As previously said there are monthly costs such as treatments for ticks and fleas which range from R180 – R500 depending on the product used. Food which varies according to size and quantity also adds up. In addition, long haired pets need to be groomed more regularly than short haired pets, so you’re looking at grooming costs too.

Cats do this themselves, so you don’t have to worry about grooming a cat, but a house-bound cat often needs cat sand if using a sandbox inside. In essence adding food, treatments, toys as well as other elements could see you spending from R450 to R2000 monthly.

In addition to caring for your pet properly, loving them and allowing them the space to express themselves are equally important. A healthy pet reflects a happy home.

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