*this is a collaborative post on www.icecreamandclara.co.uk
Thinking of getting your first pet? Here are some of the most common first pet choices and how you can be sure that they’re the right option for you.
Fish – fish are a common first pet because they’re fairly low maintenance. Other than feeding them and cleaning out their tank, they often don’t require a lot of care.
They might not be the best pet for those that are looking for a more physical companion – it’s difficult to play with a fish or cuddle up with it.
There are all kinds of fish that you can look into. Many people opt for goldfish, but there’s the option of tropical fish and various other freshwater fish. Make sure to buy a suitable aquarium for your fish’s needs. Paludariums can be great options for freshwater fish and you have the option of adding crabs, newts and turtles if you one day decide to get more daring.
Small rodents – small rodents such as hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils are another popular choice of first pet. They require more care than fish and can be handled (rats are so intelligent they can even be trained), but they’re not nearly as expensive as cats and dogs.
They will need a suitably-sized cage, as well as food bowls and a water bottle. When acquiring rodents like rats, gerbies and guinea pigs, a pairing of two of the same sex works wonderfully as they are very social creatures, just be sure their breeder can sex them accurately! You can also double check them yourself, the genitals in male rodents are much further spaced apart than in females, where the genitals are spaced closely together.
You can also adopt and rehome them in store at Pets at Home, where they keep an adoption centre for small pets that are looking for a new loving home!
A cat – cats are ideal ‘companion’ pets. They enjoy cuddling up with their owners but don’t crave as much constant attention as dogs. Although they still need to be fed, they’re fairly independent and you generally won’t need to clean them as they do this themselves. They’re also more suitable for apartment living than dogs.
You’ll need to buy equipment such as bowls, a litter tray, collar, toys and a cat carrier for going to the vet. You may want to take out pet insurance for a cat as vet bills can add up.
A dog – dogs are often said to be ‘a man’s best friend’. They’re very loyal and loving and are similarly ideal companions.
Owning a dog is a much bigger commitment than owning other pets – you need to feed them, walk them, train them, play with them, groom them and take them to the vets for check-ups. That said, for many people this can be a source of joy and fulfilment. You’ll never be lonely with a dog. Owning a dog will also keep you fit.
You’ll need to buy a lot of equipment when adopting a dog and may need to make changes to your home to make it more dog-friendly. Having an outdoor space is advised when adopting a dog (especially a puppy – otherwise toilet training will be difficult). Dog vet bills can be expensive, so you may want to look into insurance.
I really recommend checking your local adoption centres first to see if they have any cats and dogs that may be a good fit for your home. Older cats and dogs are in lower demand than kittens and puppies, however, caring for them is every bit as rewarding. Nothing compares to giving a pet a brand new home and second chance at life, it feels incredible.
Unique pets – there are many other unique pets that you can consider ranging from cockatoos to snakes. Such pets may require specific forms of care and you may have to search hard to find specific pet suppliers for providing food and toys. Always make sure to do thorough research before buying such pets so that you know what you’re in for.