How to choose a pet

Thursday, January 24, 2013
New Zealand Veterinary Association
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Deciding to become a pet owner is exciting but it shouldn’t be taken lightly, since with it comes all the responsibilities of looking after your pet.

Choosing your pet

Choosing a pet can be a difficult decision. You may have narrowed the choice down to a dog or a cat but even then there are other considerations to bear in mind, particularly if your new pet is going to share your home.

These include:

Time — animals need company, exercise/play time and training, so ask yourself whether you have time for your pet?

Money — pets can be expensive, there’ll be food, training, medicines and veterinarian fees to pay.

Space — where is your pet going to live and do you have enough space? If you don’t have much room you might be better off purchasing a small dog rather than the big one you had in mind.

Allergies — check that no-one in your family is going to be allergic to your pet.

Expectations — think about what you want from your pet. Do you want an animal that will curl up on your lap quietly or one that you can take for big walks and expel some energy with?

Breed — different breeds have different characteristics and may have certain inherited disorders associated with that breed, so do some research before you decide.

Age and sex — do you want a young animal that will need training or a more mature animal? Sex will affect how the animal will relate to other pets you may have and have reproduction implications.

Caring for your pet

Once you have decided on what pet you’d like, spend a little time looking into what you need to do to care for it properly.

There are always the basics — food, water, warmth and shelter. But beyond this there are other aspects of care that are equally important — love and emotional needs, nutrition, exercise, play and training.

The Companion Animal Health Foundation (CAHF) carries out research to help improve the health and wellbeing of companion animals. Find out more on their healthy pets website.

New Zealand Companion Animal Register

NZVA and its Special Interest Branch, the Companion Animal Society, have teamed up with other related agencies to create a microchip-based national register that enables animal owners to locate lost (or found) animals — whatever their species. Find out more at



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