If you’re planning to stay in Australia long-term, you might begin to consider whether or not you’re ready to adopt a pet. Still, amidst the traveling, studying, adventuring and other responsibilities that come with being an international student, it’s also true that pet ownership comes with its own set of responsibilities.

Here are some things to consider before adopting a new friend.

Costs

On top of your travel and expenses, it’s important to factor in both the upfront costs (microchipping, desexing, registration, etc) and the ongoing costs (food, boarding, healthcare, veterinarian costs, etc) associated with pet ownership.

Space

Will your pets need daily walks and exercise? Is a small fishbowl enough? Will you need a fully enclosed backyard? Some houses and apartments are not particularly pet-friendly places, so it’s best to discuss things with your landlord before deciding to bring any animal home.

Time

Most pets need nurturing, grooming and constant care. How often do you work? Do you like staying out late to socialise? How long will you be staying in Australia, and what will happen to your pet if you decide to leave?

Unfortunately, sometimes you’re just not in the position to commit to caring for a lifelong pet. However, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out!

Consider borrowing a furry friend to hang out with for the day.

Dog-sharing services like Dog Share, Borrow My Pooch and Pawshake link-up local dog-owners with potential pet-sitters who want to walk, play with or host a dog.

Setting up a local dog-walking business is another fun strategy, and a fantastic way to meet neighbourhood dogs whilst making a bit of extra cash on the side.

Become an Animal Foster Carer.

Why not consider temporarily fostering an animal? Foster care programs, run by organisations like PetRescue and the RSPCA, rely on volunteers to help temporarily house and rehabilitate vulnerable pets in need.

Check out:
RSPCA Foster Care NSW
RSPCA Foster Care Victoria
RSPCA Foster Care Queensland
RSPCA Foster Care South Australia

Help raise a Guide Dog puppy.

Guide Dogs Australia offer opportunities to become full-time or temporary Foster Carers to Guide Dog puppies in training. However, as Guide Dog puppies have strict training schedules, it’s best to check if you meet the guidelines before you apply.

Check out:
Guide Dogs NSW
Guide Dogs Victoria
Guide Dogs Queensland
Guide Dogs WA
Guide Dogs SA/NT

Give back to the local community.

Volunteering at local shelters to help re-home animals is a hugely rewarding way to form relationships with the animals and pet-lovers in your local community. Many local shelters, like DoggieRescue in NSW, also offer foster programs.

Alternatively, why not assist an elderly person care for their pet by joining a pet-care charity service like the LinkPETS program?

So, should I get a pet?

In the end,  it’s best to do your research. Think carefully about what, if any, kind of animal will best suit your lifestyle.

After all, happy pets make happy owners!