The UK has seen a surge in animal ownership in recent years – with increased times at home likely affording people more time to welcome a furry friend into their lives.

Figures from Statista show that just over 40% of UK homes owned an animal before 2020 – this has leapt to roughly 60% of households since 2021 when the pandemic and the rise of remote working fundamentally altered daily life for many people.

While furry, feathered or scaled friends can bring immense joy and companionship, it's crucial to consider your lifestyle before welcoming an animal into your home. Here are some key signs that indicate you're ready to become an animal guardian.

Financial Stability

Animals require a lifelong commitment, and that includes financial responsibility. 

Consider the ongoing costs of food, vet bills, insurance, and any extras like training classes or grooming. Research the average costs associated with your chosen species and breed. 

Unexpected vet bills can be stressful, so having a buffer in your savings can ensure your animal receives the best possible care.

A Well Set-Up Home

Before bringing an animal home, ensure your living space is prepared. Puppy-proof your home if you're getting a dog, meaning removing electrical cords, securing loose objects, and providing safe chew toys. 

For feline friends, invest in scratching posts and climbing structures to keep them entertained and prevent them from clawing furniture. Rabbits may require cages being set up inside and outside your house, all well stocked with plenty of feeding hay to keep them happy.

Everyone Agrees

Adding an animal to your family is a decision that impacts everyone in the household. Discuss expectations with all family members. Are you prepared to share your space and attention? Who will be responsible for feeding, walking, cleaning litter boxes and taking the animal to the vet? 

Involving everyone in the decision brings a sense of shared responsibility and ensures everyone is on board with the commitment.

You Have Enough Time

Animals, especially puppies and kittens, require a significant amount of time and attention. 

Consider your daily schedule and how much time you can realistically dedicate to your animal. Do you work long hours? Who will walk the dog or play with the cat during the day? 

Animals thrive on routine and interaction. Ensure you can provide them with the time and attention they need to stay happy and healthy.

Beyond the Basics

Owning an animal is a rewarding experience that can boost responsibility and even improve mental and physical health. However, it's a long-term commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly. By considering these key factors, you can ensure you're well-equipped to welcome a new member into your family and provide them with a loving and fulfilling life.