For over 50 years, Garden Veterinary Group has been providing compassionate, quality services for local animals. With surgeries in Chippenham, Pewsham, Corsham and Malmesbury, they care for all breeds and species – from a child’s pet guinea pig to a farm’s prize bull.

The Garden Veterinary Group recognise that for many a pet is an important part of the family. While owning a pet can be extremely rewarding, it is important to remember that pet ownership is also a huge responsibility.

They recommend that you take the time to research the species or breed/crossbreed you are purchasing well before bringing them home, so that you are positive your choice of pet will be appropriate for your lifestyle and you are well prepared for their arrival.

Before you make the decision to become a pet owner the Garden Veterinary Group recommend asking yourself the following questions:

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Am I prepared to care for a pet for its whole life?

The average lifespan of dogs and cats is around 12 years, with some dogs and cats living until 15 or even 20 years of age so it’s a long-term commitment. While puppies and kittens are irresistibly adorable, you will need to be prepared to provide for an adult animal too and, in the case of some dogs, a much larger animal with considerable exercise requirements and a sizeable appetite.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Can I afford a pet?

There are many costs involved with pet ownership. Upfront costs for cats and dogs include vaccination and microchipping. However, you will need to be prepared to pay for ongoing costs associated with food, worming, annual health checks, vet bills, training, boarding, toys and bedding for the life of the animal. If an emergency or accident occurs, you will also need to ensure you can pay for any emergency veterinary treatment required.

The costs of pet ownership will vary depending on the type of animal you choose. Remember that pets can be an expensive addition to the family and insurance costs vary be animal and breed and often come with large access payments and exclusions.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Do I understand how to care for a pet?

It is your responsibility, as a pet owner, to thoroughly research the basic requirements of your chosen pet. You should do this before considering purchasing your pet and prior to bringing your pet home so that you are well informed about the species-specific needs of your pet and so you’re ready to take good care of them.  You could look for a comprehensive book about your chosen species and other information about your chosen breed/crossbreed.

If you are considering adoption, talk to the relevant adoption organisation and ask for information or if you are purchasing from a breeder, ask the breeder for more information such as how much space and exercise is needed for the breed you’re interested in.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Do I have time to care for a pet?

Caring for a pet takes a considerable amount of time each and every day. Exercise, socialisation, grooming, feeding, reward-based training, play time and providing company and attention are all critical aspects of pet ownership. Some pets will require more of your time than others but each pet will require daily care so you need to be sure you have time available each day. Puppies and kittens are a particularly large time investment.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Will a pet fit into my lifestyle and priorities?

Working hours, a busy social life and taking regular trips away are all factors that need to be carefully 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. Before you purchase a pet consider their specific requirements. Are you prepared to walk your dog every day? Are you home often enough to keep your cat or dog company and give them attention? 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?

It is also important to think about future planning for your pet if something happens to you. Make future plans that will ensure that your pet is looked after if you pass away or can no longer look after them due to ill health or moving into a care home where pets cannot join you.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: