“But why can’t we get a dog?” If this is the millionth time you’ve heard this pleading refrain, you my be tempted to give in and get a pet.
But before you start researching breeds just to put an end to this torturous line of questioning, bear in mind the cautionary statistic that more than a third of British parents have regretted giving in to pestering to buy a family pet, according to a new study.
Of the 2,000 mums and dads surveyed, one in ten said they regretted buying the animal because of all the work that landed on their shoulders, while 12% said their family life would be much easier if it weren’t for their pet, as they’ve found animals restrict family holidays, days out and even work trips away.
An RSPCA spokesperson told HuffPost UK that there are many things parents should consider before getting a family pet:
1. Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into
“It’s really important that people do their research before getting a pet and are prepared for the responsibility involved with caring for that animal for its whole life. Speak to a local rescue centre or vet for advice, or ask friends and family who already have pets.”
2. Be Realistic About Who Will End Up Shouldering The Burden
“Pets can be wonderful and rewarding for families but most of their care tends to fall to adults so it’s important that everyone is on board before bringing one home.”
The RSPCA’s guidance is backed up by the survey, which found that 30% of parents reckon their kids barely pay the pet any attention.
3. Think About The Long-Term
“You really need to consider the responsibility and commitment involved around keeping a pet,” says the RSPCA spokesperson. “For example, dogs live for 12 years on average and this means committing to the time associated with feeding them, spending time with them, exercising them and providing veterinary treatment.”
4. Consider The Cost.
The survey found that the average pet owner said they spend £50 a month on food and animal supplies. How will this impact our budget for the foreseeable future?
5. Work Out How A Pet Would Fit In With your Schedule
“Think about whether you have space for that pet and how they will fit in with your lifestyle. Think about how much time you have to spend with them and how much training or exercise they need.”