We know that these creatures can bring joy and companionship when we need it the most. Picture: Supplied

So, you’ve taken the plunge and decided to bring a living, breathing ball of fur into your home. Getting a pet is not an easy decision to make. It’s a major life commitment: an entire being is now dependent on you, and they can cost a small fortune to look after.

But whether you decide on a dog, cat, bird, rabbit or piglet, we know that these creatures can bring joy and companionship when we need it the most. 

We have found some items you will need to prepare you for life as a pet owner:

Food and water bowls

Make sure that your dog or cat has their own place to eat and their own dishes out of which to eat. Keeping these items in one spot in or outside your house will ensure that they know exactly where to look when they are hungry or thirsty. Prices vary depending on what the bowls are made from. If the metal bowls are in your budget, go for that. These last longer and are more hygienic.

A leash

If you’ve opted for a dog as your pet, then be sure to invest in a good leash. Thicker straps are more durable and won’t dig into your hands should your pooch pulls you along as you try to walk him or her. Also, be sure to buy according to the size of your dog. If your cute little puppy is going to be a big German Shepard in no time at all, invest in a leash with an adjustable collar so that that you can use on them as a puppy as well as when they get bigger.

READ: Four says having a pet increases your lifespan

Toys

Cats and dogs both love to play with toys. You can choose from a variety of pet toys so that you can keep both yourself and your pet entertained. Dog owners should know that they will go through A LOT of toys as many pups love to chew through their play things. Be sure to get toys with different textures and sounds.

Scratching post

This one is for the cat owners. It’s a nice-to- have rather than a must-have, but the alternative is your cat scratching at your doors or walls. Scratching helps felines mark their territory as well as remove dirt or the dead outer layer of their paws, so make sure you choose the right scratching post for your furry friend.

A bed

Even pets need a comfortable place to dream about chasing birds or mice. Investing in a good bed at the start means that you can train your pet on where to sleep from early on already. Choosing the right size bed for your pet is also important of course. The more durable the bed is, the better for your pocket and your pet.

ID tag

Dogs and cats tend to wander when they are able to, and inevitably get lost. Be sure to get an ID tag for your pets so that if they go missing, whoever finds them is easily able to reach you as their owner. Get the tag engraved with your name and phone number as soon as possible.

A kennel

If your dog is going to live outside for any amount of time, whether it be during the day or at night, giving them their own home in the form of a kennel is a must. Summer sun can be harsh while winter will bring cold and wet weather, and a good kennel will protect them from the elements.
Choose wisely, in terms of size and durability. 

Couch cover

This one is a must for those who allow their pets on the couch. Not only will a couch cover prevent your couch from being covered in fluff and fur, but it also means your couches won’t get clawed and scratched at. While you’re choosing from any number of couch covers, get a seat cover for your car if you plan on travelling with your pet.