How to get a pet in 8 easy steps

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A pet owner enjoying the view.

So, you’ve decided you want a pet. Maybe your kids wore you down, or you want a furry friend to walk in the park. What now?

We had a chat with Randwick City Council’s head Ranger, Janine and she gave us the eight steps you need to take to get yourself a new pet:

1. Can I have a pet?

Pets take up space. Do you have enough of it? What about the rules of where you live? Some apartment buildings don’t allow pets, what does your lease say? Maybe you can’t have a Great Dane, but you can have a rabbit.

A ranger holding a rabbit 

Pets cost money, to buy and to keep alive and healthy. Count on regular vet bills. Can you afford to pay for your pooch in the long-term?

A cat meme 

Are you away from your home a lot for work or travel? Who is going to feed and care for your pet? Pets need playtime too, who is going to play with your cat?

A bored cat meme

Ok, so you’ve worked out you can have a pet, but what kind?

2. What kind of pet do I want?

Picking a pet is lots of fun, but what kind of pet should you get? There is a lot to consider, but two things to keep in mind always are size and temperament.

Big dog + tiny apartment = chaos.

A dog trashing an apartment meme

Cool, a small animal then? Not so fast. Some small dogs can be super high-energy.

A small dog wanting to play 

And a fish, well, just don’t over-feed it and you’ll be fine. The point is, you need to understand the living thing you’re planning to bring into your life.

You need to do some research.

3. Do “research” on the kind of pet you want

Cats and dogs are easy to research. Pay a visit to the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home and ask lots of questions. Your local vet is also a good place to gather information too. Google and Wikipedia are fantastic, but you need to meet the animal you think you want.

4. Take your time

Here’s the hard part: you probably shouldn’t get your pet just yet. Sleep on it. There you are, at the shelter and that cute puppy has just licked your face and wagged its tail and you’re in love. But a dog can live for 15 years. That’s 15 years of meals, vet visits and 15 years of *rhymes with moo* and you need to be ready.

5. Get ready!

After you’ve slept on your decision (and washed your face), you need to get your home ready for your new pet. Whether it’s buying heat lamps for your python or installing a doggie door, you need to get ready to own a living thing that is going to need space.

A cheeky winking dog

6. Who is getting a new pet? You are!

A happy dog in a park

In all your excitement, don’t forget that your pet needs to be microchipped and get registered with us. 150,000 cats and dogs are lost or stolen each year. Don’t let it be yours! Learn more here.

You’re done, right? Nope. While you’re experiencing the joy of a new pet, remember to be a good pet owner.

7. Be a good pet owner

Being a good pet owner means different things depending on the pet you have, but in general, for cats and dogs, it means getting them desexed…

A dog in a car going to the vet

If you now have a new puppy, you should enrol them in puppy school so they get socialised with other dogs, and you learn how to train them properly.

It’s also a good idea to find out where the local off-leash parks are so you can take your dog there.

Randwick City has 14 off-leash parks! Here’s one you could take your new puppy to, Nagle Park in Maroubra

Nagle Park Maroubra

And of course, pick up their poo and put it in a bin.

A dog in a bin

Your local vet will be able to give you advice on what else you need to do in the way of regular check-ups, fleas, worms and all the other fun pet-owning things that pop up.

Head Ranger Janine says that you should also listen to your pet. For example, a noisy doggy is an unhappy doggy. Barking at an intruder is normal, but non-stop barking at everything and nothing, is not normal. And your neighbours won’t be happy.

8. Enjoy your new pet!

A pet owner enjoying the view.

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