Celebrity vet Doctor Katrina Warren has revealed how to choose the best pet for your lifestyle and it might mean choosing a rabbit over a dog
Celebrity vet Doctor Katrina Warren has revealed how to choose the best pet for your lifestyle – and it might mean choosing a rabbit over a dog.
The popular television presenter, who is well known for her love of Border Collies, told FEMAIL there are five factors you should consider before introducing a pet into your home.
She said researching different breeds is also important especially if you live in an apartment building.
She highlighted the fact that smaller isn’t always better when it comes to apartment dwelling, with dogs such as Great Danes better for built-up areas than noisy breeds like Chihuahuas or energetic Jack Russells.
Dr Katrina said space – including adequate fencing – is an important factor when considering a pet.
Considering your family members before buying a pet is also necessary.
‘The young and the elderly generally don’t tend to mix well with large and boisterous dogs that have the potential to frighten them and knock them over,’ she said.
Most dogs need to be exercised outside regularly, with some breeds needing to be walked a few times each day.
The popular television presenter who is well known for her love for Border Collies told FEMAIL there are five factors you should consider before introducing a new pet into your home
Dr Katrina said most dogs need to be taken outside for exercise regularly and warned this could mean two or three walks a day for energetic breeds
It’s also necessary to consider how much grooming and feeding each breed needs.
Dr Katrina also says people who want a pet need to be realistic about how much time they spend at home especially if they want a dog, as ones that are left in the backyard all day are likely to bark more and become a nuisance.
Despite loving Border Collies she says the breed, along with Kelpies and other working dogs, are not suitable for families with small children.
What are the five things you should consider before getting a pet?
Space – You must be certain you are permitted to keep a pet where you live and you must keep a dog secure to prevent them from roaming.
Family members – Consider whether you have children or elderly people in your home. The young and the elderly generally don’t tend to mix well with large and boisterous dogs that have the potential to frighten them and knock them over.
Exercise – Most dogs need regular exercise outdoors, some breeds need a lot more than others Think carefully about how much daily exercise you can provide a dog and choose accordingly.
Grooming and Feeding – Coat length is particularly important as this will affect the impact of shedding in your home and determine how much grooming you will have to do.
Cats are naturally exceptionally clean, but longer coated breeds are likely to require daily grooming, so you need to allow time for that activity. Some dog breeds and cross breeds are non-shedding, but they require regular professional clipping, which is an additional expense to consider. Keep in mind that larger dogs naturally consume more food, so are more expensive to maintain.
Time alone – Dogs and cats are social animals and need company so be realistic about the amount of time you will be home. Dogs that are left outside on their own all the time are more likely to become bored and a nuisance.
SOURCE – Dr Katrina Warren
‘They are extremely active and also large dogs that can easily knock a small child over,’ she said.
With cats she recommends choosing an outgoing cat or kitten, not one that is timid or easily started by noises.
As for active families, childless couples, singles, retirees and avid travellers, Dr Katrina says it is important to think about what stage of life you are in before taking on a pet.
‘Sometimes adopting an older pet is easier as they are usually house-trained and you can get an idea of their personality before you adopt them.’
Dr Katrina said guinea pigs and rabbits can bond well with people and should be considered by animal lovers
What’s the best pet for apartment living?
The biggest complaints about pets in built up areas are barking dogs or cats roaming the neighbourhood.
Don’t choose a breed that is prone to barking – for example, a Chihuahua is small but they often bark, so they’re not ideal for apartment living.
Some smaller breeds like the Jack Russell and Fox Terrier are also very energetic and not well suited to apartment living.
Some of the giant breeds like Great Danes actually do really well living in an apartment space. You must research the traits of the individual breed, don’t go on the size.
Source: Dr Katrina Warren
Dr Katrina says cats and dogs are the ‘classic cuddly pet’ but it is also possible to bond closely with rabbits and guinea pigs.
‘Both rabbits and guinea pigs are social animals and should not be kept alone,’ she said.
She said that pets are able to give us unconditional love and can have a huge impact on mental health.
‘They make us smile with their funny antics and dogs motivate us to get outdoors and exercise every day. For children, pets are considered a friend and confidante and they teach children about the responsibility of caring for another living being,’ she said.
The television presenter also touched on pet affordability and revealed people in Australia spend as much as $10,000 on a puppy, but the costs don’t stop there.
Dr Katrina said some people are spending up to $10,000 for a puppy. But warns expenses don’t stop there and some pets cost more to maintain than others
‘Large dog breeds are expensive to keep as the cost of their food, flea treatments and vet care is higher than some of the smaller dogs,’ she said.
‘The ‘oodles’ require regular visits to a groomer to keep their coat clipped.’
Keeping rats and mice are a good budget-friendly alternative for children, she advised.
Dr Katrina has recently started doing a BYO pet chat over Zoom.
The pet chats involve dozens of pet owners who get together over the video-chat platform.
The vet said Great Danes are suited for apartment living because they don’t need a lot of exercise
‘This started as a favour for a friend and quickly grew by word of mouth into something special,’ she said.
‘Many businesses have been looking for ways to help their team beat the lockdown blues and stay engaged and our pets can do just that.
‘My pet sessions bring a welcome distraction from work, isolation and can help reduce feelings of loneliness.
‘There’s been a huge increase in the pet population in Australia over the past 18 months and many people have questions, so there is a thirst for pet care information too.’
Not all of the sessions go smoothly, Dr Katrina revealed her cat Leo launched onto her dog mid-session once causing chaos.