Picking The Right Pet For You - How Much Care Do Different Animals Need?

If you are keen to get a pet but are not sure what kind of animal to choose, one of the most important considerations is how hard or easy your potential pick is going to be to keep, the cost of buying and caring for them, and how much care and attention they will need daily. For instance, you might love the idea of owing a dog, but if you work long hours, are away from home a lot or not keen on walking, then you might need to rule them out as an option for the moment. Unless you have already owned a specific type of animal before and are already familiar with how much care and attention they require to stay happy and healthy, you will often have to undertake a large amount of research in order to establish if a pet is a good pick for you. Ruling out pets that are unsuitable is just as important as establishing what kind of animals are still in the running! In order to get you off to a head start, here is a short run-down of several popular species of pet, and the kind of time and financial commitment that is required to keep them in order to simplify the decision making process.


Dogs are almost without a doubt the most high maintenance of pets. They require hours of attention and entertainment daily, lots of walks and training, and can be costly to both buy and take care of. This is true for dogs of all breeds, types and sizes, and while some dogs are more sedentary than others, nevertheless, all dogs large or small require plenty of love, attention and commitment, for life. Cost of getting and keeping a dog: High Amount of care and attention required by dogs: Very high Average longevity of dogs: A decade or more


While ferrets are caged animals and so often assumed to be relatively low maintenance, any ferret owner will tell you that in order to keep your ferrets happy and healthy for life, they require a lot of space, entertainment and activity. You will need to be prepared to clean out your ferrets’ cage regularly, have them neutered, and be able to provide a significant amount of interaction with them daily to keep them happy, well exercised and tame. Cost of getting a keeping a ferret: Medium Amount of care required by ferrets: High Average longevity of ferrets: Five to ten years

Marine fish

Marine fish are stunning to watch, beautiful and hypnotic, and within the last decade as technology and marine biology have advanced, finally within the reach of the hobby fish keeper. However, marine fish are both expensive to buy and provide for, and require several hours a week to be spent on maintaining the tank and keeping their ecosystem healthy and viable, as well as a lot of research into the process! Cost of setting up and maintaining a marine tank: Very high Amount of care required by marine fish: High Average longevity of a marine tank: Greatly variable, but if you wish to keep marine fish you should plan to be in it for the long haul!


Rabbits are a popular pet with all ages, and up until twenty years ago, it used to be considered perfectly fine to keep pet rabbits in a small hutch and not provide them with much care or attention. Our understanding of the needs of rabbits and how they should be cared for has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, and a thorough understanding of the needs of rabbits and how to best care for them is required before going forwards. You should be prepared to clean out the hutch daily, and handle your rabbit and check them over at least twice a day in case of any problems. Rabbits also require neutering, vaccinations and regular health checks. Cost of buying and keeping a rabbit: Medium Amount of care required by rabbits: Medium Average lifespan of rabbits: Eight to ten years, a little less for giant breeds

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Cats tie with dogs in the top spot for the UK’s most popular pets, and for good reason. Cats are warm, affectionate, independent and entertaining, and significantly less trouble to look after than dogs! Cats do still require a significant amount of attention, as well as vaccinations, neutering, regular health checks and daily care. Cost of buying and keeping a cat: Medium Amount of care required by cats: Medium Average lifespan of cats: Twelve to twenty years

Parrots and parakeets

These larger exotic birds are very personable and entertaining, and many owners take great pride in teaching their birds tricks and even mimicry of words! Large birds tend to bond strongly with their owners, and need a lot of attention and interaction with their people on a daily basis to keep them happy. Birds are also very susceptible to stress and anxiety, and caring for a bird requires a reasonable amount of consideration and attention to be spent on their wellbeing. Cost of buying and keeping an exotic bird: Medium to high Amount of care and attention required by exotic birds: High Average lifespan of parrots and parakeets: Often several decades; truly a pet for life!


Rats, mice, hamsters and other rodents don’t require a huge amount of living space, and are relatively inexpensive to buy and maintain. They still require regular handling and feeding and for their cages to be kept clean, as well as occasional health checks and veterinary treatment. Cost of buying and keeping rodents: Low Amount of care and attention required by rodents: Medium Average lifespan of rodents: This varies between species, but two to five years would be a fair average.


Coldwater fish such as goldfish require a good basic setup to begin with and enough space to grow and move around, but only a small amount of attention on a daily basis. You should make provision to clean the tank out once a week, and ensure that there is adequate filtration and water circulation in their tank. There are a range of illnesses and conditions that goldfish can contract, which require a little research before commencement and an understanding of how to spot and treat them. Cost of buying and keeping goldfish: Low Care and maintenance requirements of goldfish: Low Average lifespan of goldfish: Up to fifteen years or maybe more

A pet rock

Finally, if you don’t have a lot of time or money and can’t commit to looking after a pet on a daily basis, a pet rock might be the best pick for you! Cost of buying and keeping a pet rock: Free Care and maintenance requirements of pet rocks: Zero Average lifespan of pet rocks: Centuries

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