Having a pet is a wonderful experience. However some do it for more than love. Below are some points that I believe everyone should consider, before getting one. It will be good not only for your pet's health and life, but yours as well. 1. Space All pets require space, both physical and emotional. You need to have a house or apartment big enough to accommodate a pet. Some pets hardly take up space, while others need a big place to be calm and not feel boxed in. Apartments are not the ideal place for a pet like a dog, especially a hyperactive one. So consider this factor before getting a pet and possibly confining it to a restricted space which is not conductive for growth and development. 2. Diet Just because you’re a Vegan does not mean that your pet has to be one. I have seen many people feeding their pets an incorrect diet and this resulted in a) premature organ failure leading to illness and death b) improper growth and development of the body. Read up, research and be ready to compromise on your eating habits if you want your pet to be leading a healthy, active and long life with you. There are some misconceptions like cats loving milk and dogs can be brought up on a vegetarian diet. Nope and Nope. Cats need their fish and meat. So do dogs. If you cannot provide and afford it, do not consider a pet. Food fit for human consumption is not necessarily fit for consumption by pets. They have a different metabolism and having sugar and salt in their diet can play havoc on their health. So avoid that temptation of feeding them that piece of chocolate, since you’ll be doing their health a favor. Quantity of food is also very important. Do not over feed your pet. A dog never knows when to stop eating. So follow balanced diet charts and monitor the amount of food you give them. When in doubt, consult your Vet first. 3. Exercise All pets (well not all ) require some form of exercise. This is good to keep them, and yourself in return, fit. Some species have a higher tendency to put on weight. A scheduled exercise regime not only allows them to burn off all that fat, but also vent all that energy that they have inside ready to be expunged. This also keeps them happy and playful (Yes pets can have mood swings). And the routine will help you work some calories off as well. 4. Hygiene A clean environment is as necessary as any of the other points. A dirty, messy household is not the place for a pet. Consider it as necessary as you would take care of a baby or a little one. So no dirty floors, washrooms, clothes strewn about etc etc. With a pet in the house, there is an additional need for cleaning, since they shed hair, skin, sweat, drool and what not. So consider this while getting a pet. Remember a dirty household will support bacteria, ticks, lice and what not. And that would not only affect your pet’s health, but yours as well. 5. Medication/Vaccination With the number of strays on our streets, it is an absolute must that you maintain a proper vaccination records. Get the basic vaccinations done, and be sure to follow up with the booster shots when scheduled. Also do not forget de-worming medication when applicable. A trip to the vet can be a harrowing experience for a pet. Be sure to reward them generously for being a sport and going along, afterwards. 6. Training A pet is only as good as his/her owner. And training is very very important. You don’t have to be harsh, or use violence to train a pet. It would only irk them more and make them aggressive and less obedient. And remember the idea of training is not for them to follow your every command, get a robot instead. The idea of training is for them to understand you and for you to understand them. It’s not just about what you’d like them to do for you, but what they like doing and how they’d like to do it. A well trained pet is a lot of relief, especially when you have guests, or step out. The hassle of minding them is much lesser. 7. Attention You are their world, their day and their night. They wait all day for you to get home, and all they want is your love and attention. Remember, you might have friends to chat, go see and meet up with, but all they have is you. So give them their due attention, they deserve every little bit of it. 8. Interaction with other pets A well trained pet would behave responsibly and normally with other pets. This not only stimulates their growth and learning, but also makes for a good social interaction with other owners. Make sure you actively take part in any pet owners group/club in your neighborhood. This will give you much needed advice and guidance from other owners, as well has provide support when someone needs to be taken care of. 9. Responsibility A pet is like a baby. And you’re the parent. It’s a lot of responsibility. They do not know right from wrong, the remote from their play toy or the socks from their chewy. That’s all up to you. So if you feel you can shoulder it, get a pet. Don’t get one coz it is a trend or an in thing. I have seen one too many pets suffer like this. If you can put out 3 to 4000 Rs every month towards your pet’s diet, medical and wellbeing, get one. If you barely manage to scrape by a month on your own, avoid getting a pet till you can responsibly take care of one. 10. Adoption instead of buying A lot of people go for the latest fad and trend and like buying a mobile, buy a pet. Trust me, all the pups and kittens up for sale, will find a home. But the ones who don’t and deserve it the most are the pets that have been abandoned by their owners (May they burn in hell, those owners). All they need is a loving caretaker and a family that would complete them once again. And they’ll love you till their last breath. - In loving memory of Pepsi and Billy, the best buddies I could ever ask for. Sniff. Miss you guys.