Am I ready for a pet?

Animals enrich our lives as well as our daily routine: they can be friends, soul-mates, companions, someone to keep fit with or simply living creatures. That’s why they are good for us – not only physically, but also mentally. But what can the animals expect from us? They need proper care, which includes the right measures of human company and their own species alike, as well as correct feeding and accommodation. The experts from Maxi Zoo emphasise that whoever wants to acquire a pet should carefully weigh up in advance whether their interests fit in with the needs of the animal in question.

When you feel you would like a house pet, the first step is to find out what this entails: which pets are there anyway and which ones to consider? There are helpful books available on this subject that explain the living habits and requirements of the various types of animals. It often happens, particularly with children, that they have completely the wrong notion of their ideal animal which they may only know from watching television. Those who have the opportunity to speak with a friend or acquaintance who already keeps a pet will be able to narrow down their choice. That’s how you’ll find out that hamsters for instance prefer to be active at night when the kid’s are already in bed. Vets and specialist shops can also advise you on finding a house pet.

Checklist for your lifelong pal – helpful questions for making the right choice:

Which pet is the right one for me?  Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, degus, rats, hamsters, mice and ferrets: They are all considered companion animals as they are suited for indoor living if you keep in mind a few, but very important principles. All pets have their own special needs – and you must know what they are!

• If you’re in rented accommodation: does the landlord allow the keeping of animals, and if so, which animals are permitted?

• Who wants the pet (child, partner, parent) and who will look after it? Do you have somebody who will look after your pet while you are on holiday?

• What interests you the most about an animal – do you just want it to look at, play with, cuddle or only for sports activities? Which animal can offer you that?

• How much activity and human devotion does the animal in question need? How much work is involved with caring for it? Do your daily commitments leave enough time for this? Which member of the family will support you?

• What is the life expectancy of the comrade of your choice? Are you prepared to carry the responsibility for that length of time?

• How well do you know its character? What are you prepared to tolerate (e.g. biting, odours, no 100% domestic cleanliness etc.)?

• What do you know about feeding the animal? Are you able to provide the appropriate food for that species?

• How much space do you have for the pet in question: do you have room for the animal, an adequately large cage or does it need to run around?

• What are the costs of acquiring, keeping and feeding? What costs are one-off and what are recurring? Have you thought about immunisation, neutering and visits to the vet?

• What demands will your future pet  place on its upkeep: is it a loner? Does it need another of its own species around it? How much human devotion does it need? For instance: Guinea pigs and rabbits should always have at least one companion of the same species. And they almost exclusively eat hay. Or: Hamsters are nocturnal and want to be left in peace during the day – otherwise the stress will make them ill and cause their early death.

These are all very important points to consider when thinking about getting a new pet.

And what’s next?

Please do not go off right away to buy a pet. You and your children should first take advice from those who deal with small animals on a daily basis and who are really “in the know”. Go and visit a veterinary practice. For a small fee you will be given detailed and objective advice. They will tell you what is important when buying a pet for your family and which pet might suit you. Or visit your nearest animal rescue centre or shelter where you will be given free advice. Or just go to your next Maxizoo shop.

Maxi Zoo reading tip

You can find informative books on individual types of animals and their needs in your local Maxi Zoo.

Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts