Pet shop Gloucester tips series, top five considerations when selecting a pet for a child.
Pet shop Gloucesterconsideration number one – budget. It seems a bit mercenary to suggest your first consideration should be your budget. What I mean is the lifetime budget for the animal. Some animals are cheaper than others. For instance a rabbit is cheaper than a western hog nose snake. The housing and equipment is cheaper as well. However, over the lifetime of the animal the rabbit is by far the more expensive option. You have to take into account the feed, the cleaning, the need for vaccination, boarding if you are lucky enough to have a holiday, everything. It makes me smile sometimes when customers pass comment about the leopard tortoise being expensive when tied up outside the dshop is their pedigree dog. A dog is probably the most expensive pet you can own (unless you count horses as pets that is). So think about the cost upfront and if you don’t think you can afford it get something cheaper overall. It is not fair to buy an animal you can’t afford to keep for its entire life.
Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.2 – space. Is you space limited? Look at spiders, insects, snails, frogs, small lizards or snakes, small mammals (up to rat size). Space not an issue? Don’t disregard the ones already mentioned but also consider chinchillas, ferrets, hedgehogs, rabbits and guinea pigs, larger lizards (beardies) larger snakes (royal pythons etc), birds, cats and dogs (small dog, its for a child). All these animals are suitable for a child but have there own space requirements. Generally the larger and more active the animal, the bigger the enclosure you will need. It seems obvious but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. Customers have been in and said something along the lines of “I bought this bearded dragon at so and so in a “starter” set up and it’s getting a bit big for it now. How big will I need to get next?” When I tell them they look at me as if I’m trying to pull a fast one and counter with “but they said it would be alright in a 2 foot viv.” Sorry but I am not responsible for the bad advice you received elsewhere, I can only tell you what you need. So be sure you know with certainty how much space you need for the lifetime of the animal.
Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.3 – nocturnal or diurnal. Is it going to be awake at night or during the day. The obvious thing to think is not to get nocturnal as it will be up all night. However is your child at school? Then it may be better to not to get a diurnal animal as it will be active when the child isn’t there and asleep when he/she gets home. A lot of supposedly nocturnal species are in fact more crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) which seems ideal.
Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.4 – lifespan. A mouse is going to live for around 18 months, a chinchilla up to around 20 years (15 is more usual). If you think your child’s interest in animals is a passing phase then a shorter lived species is better. Then you are not left looking after an animal no one is interested in anymore (not fair on the animal). If you want to avoid the stress of a death in the family whilst your child is still young go for something a bit longer lived. This is a very important aspect of choosing the right pet. Children grow up and leave home. Are they going to be able to take their pets with them into digs at university or rented accommodation? If not, be prepared to look after it when they are grown up and gone. In some cases (tortoises and parrots for example) your child is going to have to consider who they are going to leave the animal to when they are gone, as it will outlive them.
Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.5 – ease of care. All animals have needs that you and your child are going to have to meet. They all need feeding (are you OK feeding live insects to a lizard or dead mice to a snake?). The all need cleaning out (I would suggest a daily litter tray clean for ferrets). They all need water (even tarantulas that get most of their water from their food). The all need suitable housing (see space considerations). They all have their own individual special requirements (dust bath for a chinchilla or gerbil, gnaw sticks for hamsters and rabbits, hides for a corn snake, misting for a chameleon, somewhere to hang from to moult for a mantis, etc. etc. etc….). Make sure you can meet all these requirements. Obviously to do this you need to know what they are so ONLY buy your animal from someone who knows.
Pet shop Gloucester consideration no.6 – we like to give a bonus point. Too many people come into our shop having bought an animal from a dubious source (pet supermarket, online store, facebook, pre owned site, local paper, forum etc.) and were given poor advice, if any advice at all. This leads to the animal suffering and the owner feeling bad about it. We get offered animals all the time and when we make basic enquiries into the history and previous care the “seller” (they wish!) cannot give even the most elementary of answers. Needless to say we don’t buy from these sources and neither should you. Only buy from a properly licenced establishment (a licence has to be displayed) whose staff can demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the animal they are selling. Remember any one buying and selling animals commercially without a licence is breaking the law. Do you want to get your child’s pet from a criminal?
Seems a lot to consider? It should do. You need to think carefully before investing in a pet for your child. As a responsible and ethical supplier the last thing we want is for someone to buy an animal from us then come back a week or two later saying they are not able to look after their pet. If you are unsure you shouldn’t buy, simple as that. If, after considering all of the above you are sure, then come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester and we will be delighted to help. We would also be delighted to help you come to a decision beforehand as well , so come and ask us for any advice you need . The advice is free and from people who know what they are talking about .