Money Matters Team

Planning for Your Perfect Pet

By Money Matters Team 12/10/2020

Planning for your perfect pet

Deciding to welcome a new pet into your home is exciting and it can be tempting to rush things. Most animal lovers have felt their hearts melt when faced with a furry little bundle – there’s a reason for the expression “puppy eyes”.

It’s important that you take the time to do your homework though – and prepare properly for your new friend’s arrival. Both for your own sake and for the wellbeing of your pet. Deciding what kind of animal or breed you want, then doing a bit of research into its characteristics and needs is a good place to start.

What’s the perfect pet for me?

Cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the UK, but there’s more to deciding on the ideal pet than just looks and personal preference.

How to choose a pet – things to consider

  • Are you ready for the commitment? Pets often need a lot of your time and attention. Dogs especially might need a fair bit of training, exercise and company. And remember that some pets can live for 20 years or more, so they might be with you for quite some time.

  • Can you afford it? Between food, insurance, pet sitters, equipment and vet visits, pet costs can start to stack up. Make sure you look into typical food habits, insurance quotes and any common health issues for the animal or breed you want before you commit.

  • Is your home and lifestyle right for the pet you’re after? Some cats and dogs ideally need a good amount of space and access to a secure garden. Depending on the pet you’re considering, you may also need to check if anyone in your household is allergic.

  • Do you have kids? Some dog breeds, like Labradors and Boxers, tend to be more patient and child-friendly than others. While smaller pets, like mice and gerbils, can be difficult for young children to handle safely as they’re fast and move around a lot.

What’s the best type of cat to get?

From stunning pedigrees to handsome moggies, affectionate rescue cats to cute kittens, there’s a lot to think of – and a whole host of breeds to consider.

To help you get the ball rolling, we’ve pulled together a handy guide to choosing a cat – along with a range of cat breed guides.

How to choose the right dog for me

Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes – from small adults to big puppies – and with a wide spectrum of personalities and temperaments. So how do you decide what type of dog would be best for your home and circumstances?

Our guide to choosing a dog and library of dog breed guides might help you narrow your search down.

Use our Pawfect Match tool

Still unsure of what type of cat or dog you’d like? Not to worry -  we’ve created a Pawfect Match online tool to help you figure it out.

Just answer a handful of questions about your lifestyle and pet preferences and we’ll match you up with the breeds that sound like a good fit.

Learning to take care of your new pet

Knowing how to care for a particular breed can be be a great starting point when you’re trying to decide if you’re compatible. And if you’ve already found your perfect pet, you’ll want to make sure you’re meeting their needs and keeping them healthy.

Our interactive Pawfect Care guide to cat and dog breeds covers everything from size and lifespan to diet, grooming and exercise.

Where to get a pet

Give a rescue pet a forever home

There are lots of benefits to rehoming a rescue animal. They’ll be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped for one thing. And if you go for an adult pet, you’ll be able to get a good steer on their personality from the get-go.

Charities like Bluecross, RSPCA and Scottish SPCA can help you get started on your journey.

Buying from a breeder

If you’re planning to get a pedigree or buy a pet from a breeder, make sure you research the seller carefully.

Look out for deceitful sellers, who mistreat pets to make a profit – also known as ‘Petfishing’. The animals they sell can often have severe health issues and may not have been socialised properly.

In England, commercial, third-party sale of cats and dogs is illegal as of 6 April 2020. That means you’re only allowed to buy these pets from a licensed breeder (or adopt them from a rescue centre).

Your local vet or kennel club should be able to point you in the direction of a reputable breeder.

Preparing your home for a pet

So, you’ve picked your ‘pawfect' match. All that’s left to do now is get your home ready. As part of your pet preparation and research, think about whether or not your home is suitably “pet-proofed”. Don’t overlook simple things like keeping the washing machine door closed and hiding electric cables and make sure there are no poisonous plants in your windows and garden.

Our guide to creating a pet friendly home takes you from room to room, with tips on keeping your furry friends – and belongings – safe.

If you’re thinking of getting a new pet, make sure you get the right cover to help with any unforeseen vet bills. Have a look at our pet insurance options and get a quote today.



This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.