Buying or adopting a new pet is an exciting time, especially if it is a first pet. We have put together some information to help you to decide between the many hairy, furry and feathered options.
The first thing to keep in mind is suitability, your home and life must suit the animal’s habits and exercise needs. With this in mind, we have compiled some information on the most popular pets so that you can decide which one is the best fit for you.
Probably the most popular pet in Ireland is the dog. Dogs are loyal, love human company and can be great pets for children.
They are also great for keeping us fit as they need exercise as much as we do.
If you are thinking about getting a dog, the main things to bear in mind are:
Puppies need training…toilet and manners, so you must have some time for the first couple of months to clean up accidents and chewed toys/furniture/shoes.
Be patient and always react with kindness, if you punish them for something, they usually will not understand what they are being punished for so this will not stop them from peeing on the carpet again! They will learn better from positive reinforcement.
Lifespan: 10-14 years, this is an average as dogs are very breed dependant, smaller breeds usually live longer than giant and large breeds.
Diet: Most good dog foods are complete – meaning you don’t need to supplement them with meat or carbohydrates.
There are hundreds of dog treats – please do not give them human food.
Foods to avoid: Chocolate, Raisins, onions, avocado, alcohol, macadamia nuts, salt and coffee are all to be avoided.
Definitely growing in popularity here as they have over the years realised how nice the sofa is compared to the hayshed.
Cats are more independent than dogs, they like to snooze and have their own space and most cats will like to go out and hunt.
They are a good companion while also not being too high maintenance of a pet.
They need their own litter tray, so if you have a cat already, please ensure the new cat has his/her own litter tray as they get stressed and don’t like to share these things.
Lifespan 12-16 years
Diet: as with dog food, most cat foods are complete and they do not need extra supplements, cats need tourine – meat in their diet so please ensure you are feeding cat food or giving them meat.
Foods to avoid: alcohol, coffee, chocolate, raisins, onions, dairy products.
Pet rabbits are available in a number of breeds, they vary greatly in size and looks and they make great pets.
The can sometimes be grumpy so we would not recommend them for small children.
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Diet: Rabbit pellets, hay to keep their teeth ground down and dark green leafy vegetables.
They need a balanced diet and they always need to have food present as they have a complex digestive system.
They can be litter tray trained which is handy if you allow them out of their pen.
Rabbits will be safer and warmer indoors but most breeds can survive outdoors in a hutch if it is secure and they have a warm bedded house.
They can be lead trained if you are so inclined!
These furry friends are a very popular option for a first pet for a child.
They are quite self sufficient and independent and they are also usually quite tame so they don’t mind some handling.
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Diet: pellets, hay, fresh vegetables & water.
They need vitamin C so this needs to be either available through the diet you feed them or given as a supplement.
They require a lot of exercise so it is important to ensure the enclosure allows them to run around while also providing a hiding place.
Another popular first pet, however they are nocturnal so they prefer to sleep during the day – keep this in mind if looking for a companion for a child.
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Diet: pellets/nuggets & water, they can have fresh veggies as an occasional treat.
Hamsters love exercise so the enclosure should have an exercise wheel and some space to play as well as hiding places when they want some shut eye.
There are many different types of birds to choose from, from a finch to a parrot.
The smaller ones – budgies, cockatiels, canaries, finches etc. make great pets as they are usually friendly if handled and they are very good at entertaining themselves.
Most small birds like to be in pairs as they can become lonely and it is nice to have company to groom each other etc.
They usually live from 5-12 years, depending on the breed and most pet shops will stock specific food for them.
Their nails and beaks can be kept filed down with sandpaper to stand on and cuttlefish bones to peck.
Larger birds are a different story – parrots and cockatoos require a lot of time and dedication, they can live 60+ years so getting one of these as a pet is a big decision.
They can become jealous and quite bold if they are not given enough attention.
Hopefully these snippets of information will help if you are thinking about adding a new pet to the family or for yourself, however if you have a pet in mind, you can never do too much research and if you need any more info, don’t be afraid to give us a call at Arena Veterinary Hospital, Wexford phone: 053 9142891.