Pets are quickly becoming a common addition to our households. As the middle working class expands, so does pet ownership. For the longest time, I have wanted to have a pet, specifically, a dog, but I found myself holding back just as I am about to get one. There are some key things to consider before getting any kind of pet.
Pets, like children, are not for everyone. Although they say you cannot know until you try, some people are just not the pet type. Before getting a pet, know what sort of pet works with your personality. For instance, in dog breeds, there are athletic dogs which require regular exercise, there are low-energy dogs that just lay around, there are guard dogs and family dogs. Basically, your personality should match that of your pet.
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Pets can be expensive but you already know that. If it’s not pricey trips to the vet, it’s their expensive food. In fact, some insurance companies offer pet insurance and you can offset a lot of the vet-associated costs with a pet insurance plan. However, the emotional requirement that comes with owning a pet becomes challenging leading to people returning their pet or giving it away. Just like any living thing, they require to be fed and washed regularly. In addition, pets require your constant attention for an enriched life. A pet needs to form a bond with its owner through playtime. It is also important for a pet owner to house-train the pet. Therefore, the question to ask will be, do I really have the time for a pet?
There’s nothing that irks me more than a sign saying “no pets allowed”. However, most apartments in Nairobi and its environs are now warming up to the idea of allowing pets in their building. Before buying a pet, make sure you are familiar with your rent contract lest you are served with eviction notices.
Some pets are also not conducive to apartment living. For instance, if you plan on installing an aquarium, it is paramount to check with the landlord before making changes to the house. Aquariums generally require a lot of house modifications which the house owner might not agree with.
Exotic pets such as snakes or spiders are not favourable for apartments since they require specific living conditions and pose a real threat if they escape.
Animal allergies are somehow common. It is caused by proteins found in a pet’s dander, skin flakes, saliva, and urine. Such allergies can be a nuisance especially when you just want to play with your furry friend. Asthmatic people are often advised to consult with a physician before getting a pet. While allergies are treatable and, in most cases, harmless, it’s best to avoid unnecessary irritations. Some pets can be suitable for allergic people such as a Sphynx cat, rabbit, and tortoise.
Pet adoption is presumably a “mzungu” thing. When looking for a pet, most people prefer getting them from breeders. However, there are a number of rescue shelters that help find homes for rescue animals and many people are embracing the concept. Shelters like KSPCA state that more than 90% of its monthly adoption are by locals. Give pet adoption a try. It might be better than owning a pedigree. In most cases, pets will be immunized before the sale. The same applies to rescue animals.
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