Ask Jamie @ AVS
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Before becoming a pet owner, you need to consider some factors first.

Do the following checklist to see if you qualify as a potential pet owner.

This checklist helps you determine if you are ready to own a pet. If you answer “No” to any of the items below, it is best to reconsider getting a pet.

Checklist for potential pet owners
 
 
   Yes No  
 Does my family agree to having a pet?     
 Are we committed to looking after it for life?    
 Can we afford to pay for its veterinary bills, food, and grooming?    
 Do we have enough time to care for it?    
 Do we have enough space at home for a pet?    
 Do we know how to care for our pet properly?    
 
Read on to consider the factors before getting a pet:

Is your family agreeable to owning a pet?

Having a family’s support is very important in owning a pet. All family members should ideally agree to own a pet before getting one. Having a pet without their knowledge or approval could lead to disagreement within the family, resulting in discord at home. This could even result in pet owners giving up their pets or worse, abandoning their pets.

What type of pet best suits your lifestyle?

It is important to choose a pet that best fits your lifestyle. Pets have different characteristics, and require different levels of care. A pet is a lifelong commitment, so you should find out about your intended pet’s characteristics, and how to care for it, before making your choice.

The origin of the pet matters. Dogs, for example, require ample time and attention from their owners for exercise and training. If the dog comes from a temperate climate, Singapore's warm weather might not be suitable for it. A cool environment needs to be provided at all times and may entail having the air-conditioner or fan on frequently, and making sure that the pet is not brought out when the day is too hot or sunny.

Do you know enough about the pet to care for it properly?

All pets have different needs. Find out as much as you can about the pet you intend to get – such as the type of housing, environment, food, exercise, and grooming it needs – before getting one. This will go a long way towards ensuring that your pet is healthy and happy.

Dogs with thick coats, such as the Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute, have to be brought for regular grooming to ensure that the dog’s coat have to be does not get tangled and groomers will strip the dog’s coat to make it feel cooler. Long-haired or wire-haired pets also needs regular grooming, such as having their coats trimmed. Herbivores, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, need their cages cleaned every day.

It is also important that you learn more about the potential problems – behavioural or otherwise – that may arise from keeping the pet you want. For example, learn more about the pet's characteristics in order to determine the right pet to keep.

Hence, do ensure that you have the time and finances to spend on your intended pet before getting one.

Do you know how long your pet may live?

Find out the lifespan of the pet you want to get. Hamsters and gerbils live for about three years; rabbits and guinea pigs for about eight years; dogs and cats for about 18 years; and terrapins for 20 years or more! Getting to know your potential pet’s lifespan will prepare you for the expected length of commitment. You should be committed to caring for your pet for its whole life.

Lifespan of common pets

Birds: 5 – 30 years

Cats: 18 years

Chinchillas: 15 years

Dogs: 18 years

Fish: Variable

Gerbils: 2 – 3 years

Guinea pigs: 8 years

Hamsters: 2 – 3 years

Mice: 2 years

Rabbits: 8 – 10 years

Terrapins: More than 20 years

Do you have the resources (e.g. time, budget, space) to own a pet?

Caring for pets can be demanding. It involves spending time. Money is required for cages, feeding bowls, food, accessories, and veterinary bills. Pets also require living space within your homes. A responsible pet owner must ensure that all these will be provided.

In addition, owners have to obey licensing laws, sterilise their pets, clean up after their pets in public places, and ensure their pets do not disturb other people.