If you've been thinking about adding a four-legged friend to your family but don't know where to start, look no further!
Now we're all spending more time at home thanks to the coronavirus lockdown laws, there's been a huge increase in pet adoptions.
Pet owners are more likely to have stronger immune systems, be fitter and have better mental health, so there are plenty of benefits. But having a furry friend is also a big responsibility as pets need a lot of attention and love.
We had a chat with the original Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown about the top things to consider before bringing a pet into your life.
That little puppy or kitten may look cute in the pet shop window, but if you are serious about adding an animal to your family, think about adopting one from a shelter. And with around 10,000 pets in Australia in need of a home, you have options.
Many people think that because an animal is in a rescue shelter, they're damaged, but that's not the case.
"Most of these pets have been given up just due to changes in their human's circumstances – nothing to do with the pet's temperament. In fact, both my dog and cat have beautifully rounded and giving personalities due to their time as shelter animals," says Dr Chris.
"I know puppies and kittens are very cute, but there are plenty of older (and already trained!) pets in shelters that would be a great 'first pet' for families who are looking," he adds.
READ MORE: The best and worst foods for your dog.
Dr Chris says finding the perfect pet is just like finding the perfect partner.
"There's being ready and then there's thinking you're ready. You want this relationship to go the distance as well so make sure you're very honest about what you can truly bring to the relationship," he says.
With that in mind, ask yourself these questions before rushing to your nearest animal rescue centre.
1. Do you work long hours?
If you're constantly working or have unpredictable hours, getting a pet probably isn't the best decision. They need to be fed, walked and taken care of and that won't happen if you don't have the time, especially if you have a hyperactive puppy on your hands. On the plus side, if the whole family is at home and your kids are old enough to walk the dog without adult supervision, this is a great way to get their daily dose of exercise in.
2. Are you financially comfortable enough for a pet?
Food, vet bills, toys, it all adds up! Make sure a pet is within your budget, or you may struggle later down the track.
3. Are you allowed to have a pet where you live?
The last thing anyone wants is an angry landlord. Also if you have a tiny apartment and have a big dog that needs lots of space and exercise, it's not fair on them either. Learn more about this process by clicking here. or by visiting the Mars Petcare site.
5. Do you have any other pets?
If you already own pets and it's going well, adding one more isn't always a great option. When a sibling is involved, animals can fight too so make sure any potential new pet is the right addition.