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National Pet Show: How To Choose Your Perfect Family Pet

The National Pet Show returns to the NEC in Birmingham this November, and it’s a great opportunity for you to find out more about what kind of pet would suit your family. We’ve teamed up with the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) to help you decide if you should be going for a mastiff or a mouse…

Taking on a new pet is a huge commitment. All pets deserve happy and healthy lives, and this means owners being able to provide for their welfare needs. It’s important to give consideration and commitment to what they need to live comfortably, how much exercise they will need, how much time you’ll have to devote to their needs, how much they will cost to keep and what their welfare needs are.  

Your vet is a great place to seek advice on what different pets need and which pet could be your perfect match. They can also provide advice about where to get a pet from, including reputable breeders, avoiding the heartbreak of getting an unwell or poorly-socialised pet.

PDSA’s PETS-K formula will help you consider the key factors before making a decision:

  • Place – can you provide a suitable home and environment for the pet you are considering?
  • Exercise – can you provide the right type and amount of exercise?
  • Time – can you devote enough time to your pet?
  • Spend – can you afford the lifetime expenses of your chosen pet?
  • Knowledge – are you aware of the pet’s welfare needs and how to meet them?

Having company is just as important to our pets’ mental wellbeing as it is to our own. In fact, social species such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, ferrets and mice need to live with their own kind, otherwise they are at risk of becoming lonely and depressed.

Keeping two rabbits together greatly reduces potential stress, whereas the opposite is true of cats, who can become stressed in the company of other felines. So it’s important to consider the companionship needs of a pet before you adopt or buy.

Some species require more interaction with people too. Dogs, ferrets and rats all thrive with our company and enjoy spending time with us. Looking at the companionship needs of different pets will allow you better determine which might be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Sadly, every day vets and other animal charities see the consequences of unsuitable pet choices, from frustrated dogs that are never walked, to bored and lonely bunnies.

A common cause of dogs and cats being given up or abandoned is people underestimating the true cost of owning a pet. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2017* showed 98% of dog and cat owners underestimate the potential lifetime cost of caring for their four-legged friend.

The unconditional love pets provide is worth every penny, but it’s important to plan ahead for the costs involved. For instance, taking out pet insurance is a great way to cover any unexpected medical costs in the case of illness or injury, but it’s also important to budget for regular preventive care such as vaccinations and check-ups with your vet.

PDSA’s PetWise quiz takes a look at your lifestyle and can help you make the decision on which pet is right for you. Visit to find your perfect pet partner who will be a healthy and happy companion for many years to come.

Visit the PDSA Petsurance stand at the National Pet Show on 3rd and 4th November at the NEC Birmingham, where pet experts are on hand to give all the information you need, from choosing the right animal and information on adopting a pet, to caring for your pets every day. Plus, you can meet over 400 types of animals at the show.


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