The Lowdown Of Choosing A Pet

As a child I had a number of pets, a Rabbit, Guinea pig, 4 Hamsters (not all at the same time), 1 Mouse, 2 Giant Snails, 15 Fish, 12 Stick Insects and 2.5 dogs (thats a story for the pub). My memories are as fluffy as some of the pets but now my children are here the reality of owning a family pet is slightly different. As the “grown up” you are the true keeper, the one that once the novelty has worn off will be feeding, washing, cleaning and inevitably paying that vets bill when poor little Smoky looks looks a bit peaky. So here are our top 6 family pets and the low down of what you can expect.. 

#1 Rabbits and Guinea pigs 

How long do they live Rabbits can live up yo 9 years and Guinea Pigs between 5 and 7 years

Initial Equipment Hutch/run and bedding.

Ongoing Equipment Things to play with straw/bedding

Maintenance Regular cleaning out of the hutch, daily feeding

Feeding cost Moderate, mainly dry and fresh food

Insurance Available, shop around for the best deal

Suitable for Ages All ages, although be careful around small children

#2 Rodents (hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats) 

How long do they live Between 2 and 3 years

Initial Equipment Cage, water bottle & play equipment so they don’t get bored

Ongoing Equipment Exercise ball (optional but great fun)

Maintenance Most rodents need their bedding replaced weekly and toilet area cleaned daily, they also need feeding daily

Feeding cost Moderate dry food some fresh

Insurance Available, shop around for the best deal

Suitable for Ages Over 4 years as smaller animals need some gentle handling

# 3 Chickens

How long do they live How long is a piece of string? The average life expectancy is 6-12 years.

Initial Equipment coop, run

Ongoing Equipment none

Maintenance Low, they need feeding and watering once a day. Coops will need regular cleaning and runs regular raking. One major advantage they’ll produce you eggs!

Feeding cost low, pellet food and they will eat pretty much anything you have as scraps.

Insurance Not needed.

Suitable for Ages All  ages, perfect for small children and teenagers alike, choose a breed thats good for handling and you’ll be fine.

# 4 Fish 

How long do they live How long is a piece of string? It depends on the type of fish. Goldfish can live up to 30 years!

Initial Equipment Tank, pump, gravel, decorations

Ongoing Equipment None

Maintenance Low, they need feeding once a day and slow release food is readily available for holidays. Tanks need cleaning and water replaced every 1-2 weeks

Feeding cost Varied, for goldfish and similar the cost is low

Insurance Not needed for cheap fish but optional for specialist fish

Suitable for Ages All  ages, perfect for small children and teenagers alike

#5 Cats

How long do they live  Up to 15 years

Initial Equipment Litter tray, collar, cat flap, food bowls, toys etc

Ongoing Equipment Toys, replacement articles

Maintenance Feeding 1-3 times a day, grooming suggested vets treatments like neutering and flea treatments

Feeding cost Varied depending on your preference

Insurance Suggested

Suitable for Ages All although be aware of young babies

#6 Dogs 

How long do they live 10-17 years depending on the breed.

Initial Equipment Bed, collar, food bowls, lead, grooming equipment

Ongoing Equipment Leads, grooming equipment, toys etc.

Maintenance High digs need feeding 1-3 times day and regular walks for toilet needs and exercise

Feeding cost As with cats varied depending on preference

Insurance Suggested

Suitable for Ages All ages although beware of young children

To find out more visit Pets at Home who have some great information about each type of pet, they even run free workshops for kids.