Four things to consider before taking on a pet

As Christmas approaches, it’s a time when many consider surprising loved ones with a new furry family member. However, getting a new pet is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be discussed with everyone who will be involved first. 

Vet charity PDSA urges not to take on a new pet during the Christmas period because it’s such a busy (and noisy!) time of the year which can be highly stressful for a new pet trying to settle in. Our precious pets deserve to be welcomed into a home where all their needs can be met, so it’s important to make sure you’re able to give them exactly that before committing them to the family. Welcoming home a new pet is a big responsibility, so PDSA always advises people to do plenty of research before making such a big decision. 

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “Taking on a pet is a big responsibility, so it’s vitally important to avoid impulse buying and make sure you carry out plenty of research beforehand. If you’re considering becoming a pet owner, there are several things you need to think about to ensure you’re putting a furry friend’s needs first. 


“All pets love being able to freely explore their surroundings, which is why having space for them to run and play is essential. Pooches in particular are curious creatures, so they’ll need regular access to a safe and secure outdoor area. Keep in mind that many cats also enjoy being able to roam outside. For smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs, it’s important that they have access to a large run or a garden to be active and stay healthy.  


“Along with space to play, exercise is something you should keep front of mind when taking on a pet. All pooches enjoy regular walks, but the amount of exercise they need will vary depending on their age, breed and health. It’s best to take this into account when taking on a pup and consider the length and frequency of walks that you’re realistically able to commit to, throughout their lifetime.  

 “If you’re not very active and prefer to spend most of your time indoors, a small pet may be the more sensible choice. Don’t forget that all furry friends love playtime, as a means of staying active and healthy, both physically and mentally, so having plenty of toys available is a must.     


“All pets require a time commitment, whether that’s daily walks, grooming, playtime, cleaning up after them or just spending time in their company. For many more sociable pets, time spent with their owner is essential for a happy and healthy life. This is especially true for canine companions, as they can become anxious and distressed if left alone for long periods of time. As a general rule, dogs should not be left alone for longer than four hours.  


“Pets are a big financial responsibility. As part of ensuring your four-legged companion stays happy and healthy, you’ll have to cover the ongoing costs of food, equipment, toys, grooming, flea and worming treatments, insurance and vet bills. Not to mention these costs can become even higher as your pet gets older or if health problems start to crop up.” 

Pets bring love and happiness into our lives for such a long time, it’s vital that we plan properly for a lifetime of wellbeing for them, not just the excitement of the festive period.”