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Picture of small animalsHow to Share This Planet With The Animals...

Keeping Pets and the Costs Involved

Taking responsibility for an animal is one of the most important commitments you could make during your life. The following information should help you to make that choice wisely.

Cat and Dog Buying Tips

Never buy animals as whimsical presents ... particularly for children. If you are considering a pet primarily for your children's entertainment, then your children MUST be taught responsibilities that come with owning an animal. They need to be given realistic guidance about how much of their playtime they'll be sacrificing to look after their pet - i.e. cleaning, feeding, exercise and attention. They also need to be shown how to properly handle the animal.
If managed properly a child's contact and careful responsibility for animals can help them to respect and show more compassion towards animal welfare later in life.
Remember ... A great deal of thought, education and preparation should be considered before introducing an animal into your household.
You are strongly advised not to buy a cat or dog from a breeder. This often cruel trade is purely for making money and not contributory to the welfare of the animal. The trade is notoriously flawed and unregulated and is rife with the mistreatment of animals - in some areas of the industry the unscrupulous disposal is common. The dogs and cats that breeders deem "unsuitable" for selling or breeding purposes are often put down.
Why pay hundreds of pounds for a pet companion just to line the pockets of these businesses? Also remember that there are often health problems inherent in pedigree animals. If you absolutely insist on buying a specific dog / cat breed then do your research very carefully; find out everything you can about the breeder - how the dogs / cats are sourced and handled - about how they dispose of their ex-breeders or those which are not "good" enough to breed from - what do they do with unwanted puppies / kittens. Even then, you may easily be lied to, so think carefully before going this route ... and dig deep into your conscience.
More information about the appalling trade of dog breeding can be found at Peta:
http://www.peta.org/factsheet/files/FactsheetDisplay.asp?ID=45
At this very moment there are thousands of abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats elooking for homes*. If you want a pet, then do the only responsible thing and search for your ideal companion from the hundreds you'll find at your local or even international re-homing charity. Those animals are desperately in need of loving homes.

*If you need more information on animal re-homing please check our:
Global Charities Directory or Vegetarian, Animal and Conservation Directory.

Spaying / Neutering Cats and Dogs

Owners of young pets often fail to realize that their animals can fall pregnant at a very early age. You should also be aware of the activity of other animal residents in your neighbourhood. If there are quite a few other cats and dogs, which your pet can come into contact with then the odds of your pet becoming pregnant are very high.
Many medical associations now recommend that kittens and puppies are spay/neutered at 8 weeks old. In fact, spaying and neutering cats at this early age has shown significant reduction of mammary carcinoma. Plus, animals also seem to tolerate and recover from the spay / neuter procedure much more quickly and painlessly than those sterilized over six months of age.

Average Annual Costs For Cat and Dog Owners

Young or old cats and dogs cost more to look after because of extra veterinary treatment. The young normally require vital veterinary procedures like spaying / neutering. Immunization is entirely the choice of the animal owner (This site does not particularly recommend immunizations on healthy young animals).
Elderly animals gradually require more veterinary treatment simply through the wear and tear of old age.
Cats that live in neighbourhoods shared by other felines are highly prone to bite infections due to aggressive encounters. More often than not these scratches and bites occur around the head and neck region, which become infected (abscess and blood poisoning) needing medical treatment. So consider this when assessing the cost of cat ownership. A cat's diet is also contributory to how much medical treatment it may need through its life. Feeding cats on dried food is a major cause of kidney stones, causing painful suffering and ultimate death. So, always feed cats with natural moist foods and use dried biscuits sparingly, remembering to accompany dried food with plenty of water.
DOGS - AVERAGE ANNUAL COST (in UK Pounds):
Veterinary Care - £150 (or see Pet Care and Insurance)
Internal / External Parasite Control (worms, flees etc) - £30
Food - £520 to £780
Miscellaneous (Toys, bedding etc.) - £20
Pet Insurance £120 - £150
TOTAL: £720 to £980
CATS - AVERAGE ANNUAL COST (in UK Pounds):
Veterinary Care - £120 (or see Insurance)
Internal / External Parasite Control (worms, flees etc) - £10
Food - £260 to £364
Miscellaneous (cat litter, toys, bedding etc.) - £40
Pet Insurance £100 - £120
TOTAL: 430 to 534


Continue to >>> Tips and Final Considerations >>>

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