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Choosing a companion animal

Having a pet can be one of life’s joys – but it is a huge responsibility. Be sure to choose one that suits your living space, lifestyle and budget and ensure you can meet the animals’ physical and behavioural needs.

There’s no denying that pets bring something very special to our lives. However, they need a lot from you in return. So before you choose, consider your home, lifestyle and budget, and look for a pet that will fit with all of those.

Firstly, consider your living space. This doesn’t mean that if you live in a small apartment you have to rule out having a pet. Many cats or smaller types of dogs can be content living in a smaller home provided they have adequate, regular opportunities for exercise and environmental enrichment. If you get a dog, you’ll need to ensure they have regular opportunities to toilet in a safe area and are taken for a walk every day. Cats also need adequate, regular exercise and environmental enrichment. For confined cats access to an outdoor escape-proof enclosure can greatly increase the opportunity for activity and stimulation. Confined cats may also enjoy supervised trips outside on a lead and collar or harness with their owner. Cats can be trained to walk on a lead by reinforcing the walking forward with food treats. But of course if you live in a strata building you will need to check your building by-laws to ensure pets are permitted.

Next, you should consider adopting a pet from reputable rescue groups. If you can’t find the right find a responsible breeder and help to prevent the sale of puppies from puppy mills or irresponsible breeders.

Think about your lifestyle. Working hours, a busy social life and taking regular trips away are all factors that need to be considered before purchasing a pet. Companion animals thrive on human company and will always depend on you; you must be sure that your lifestyle will accommodate them. Are you home often enough to keep your cat or dog company? Do you have time to give your puppy or kitten the basic reward-based training it needs? Who will care for your pet when you are away from home? If your lifestyle is fairly sedentary, you might be happier with a type of dog that doesn’t need more exercise than a daily walk. Or you might want to consider an older dog, as they’re usually house-trained and may not require as much exercise as a pup. If your lifestyle is active you may suit a dog that requires more than one walk a day.

Pets are for life, and the cost of looking after them can add up. There’s the cost of food, bedding, grooming, registration, desexing and veterinary care including worm and flea control. And if your pet gets sick or injured, you’ll need to pay for its emergency veterinary care too.

As there is no Medicare for pets, vet bills can be very pricey – often in the thousands for a serious illness or injury. So it makes sense to take out pet insurance for your dog or cat.

Pet insurance is an affordable way to help manage the costs of your pet’s health. You can take out accident and illness insurance for your pet from the age of eight weeks up to nine years old, or accident only from eight weeks, with no upper age limit. Once your pet is insured, you can continue the cover for life, as long as you keep paying the premiums.

Protect your new pet

Here are three pet insurance options from Real Pet Insurance:

  • Accident Cover will reimburse up to 80% of your eligible vet bills if your pet is accidentally injured.
  • Standard Accident and Illness Cover will reimburse up to 75% of eligible vet bills for illness or injury.
  • Premium Accident and Illness Cover reimburses up to 80% of eligible vet bills for illness or injury. You can also add Routine Care Benefit to help with everyday costs of keeping your cat or dog healthy.

Learn more

To learn more about pet insurance, request an information pack or get a quick quote online.

Real Insurance is an award-winning provider of pet insurance.

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