National Pet Month

This April is National Pet Month, which aims to raise awareness of responsible pet ownership as well as celebrating our furry, feathered, and scaly friends! I feel passionately that you should only bring an animal into your family if you're fully prepared for it, and ready to commit yourself to pet ownership for the duration of its life. With this in mind, my very own Jack Russell Terrier, Buddy, has assembled army of blogger pets to share the advice they've picked up from their fantastic owners! Let's get started!

🐶 Dogs 🐶

Buddy says: "One of the most important things to remember about owning an a lovely little pupper like me is that a dog is for life and not just for Christmas. You may buy a tiny, bouncy, adorable pup for Christmas, but that dog will soon grow up and have REAMS of energy, just like me! Before you settle on a breed, do your research and find out about the temperament of the dogs in question, make sure they're suited to your lifestyle. A big dog like a Husky will need constant walks and space to burn off their energy, not suitable if you live in a second floor flat. Ensuring that your dog is appropriately trained and socialised is another must. Some owners go all out and teach their dogs to jump through hoops, but basic commands like sit and stay are a necessity. My fellow canines need to be well disciplined and know how it's acceptable to behave around other dogs and people. But we pups won't learn instantly. Commitment will be necessary and you should always be aware of this before taking on a four-legged friend!"

🐱 Cats 🐱

George, owned by Heather from says: "It's important to know that each cat is unique, like me and my brother Milo. Sounds kinda obvious but online you find so many people who claim they know what is best for a cat: what they should be fed, whether they should be kept indoors or allowed to go outdoors etc. etc. In my opinion, none of that advice matters. We cats are very independent creatures who develop their own attitude and they will soon tell you what they like and dislike! Keep an eye on our health. My Mum checks my eyes, nose and fur for changes as well as any sudden personality changes. Another big tip, especially for first-time owners, is that while it is incredibly cute to have your kitten do something like sit on your shoulders, be aware that us kitties have no concept of growth. Milo and I still want to sit on our Mum's shoulder even though we're fully grown!"

🐹 Dwarf Hamsters 🐹

Jeff, owned by Steph from says: "We dwarf hamsters are very different to normal Syrian ones. Unlike Syrian hamsters together, you can keep dwarf hamsters together but it is dangerous. We are quite territorial so each of us will need our own water bottle, food bowl, and a place to sleep. If we don't have this, we will often attack each other! We also need to be handled frequently. You should scoop me up from underneath, rather than from the top which is scary! Like most animals, when I was a baby, I couldn't control my bladder, so I used to wee on my Mum whilst she held me for the first few months. I also must NEVER ever get wet. If I do, I could develop pneumonia and can get a dangerous disease called 'wet tail'. This is usually caused by diarrhoea, so I mustn't be given food with high water content (e.g. grapes). I'm nocturnal so it's nice for me to have somewhere dark in my cage where I can sleep in the day. Having a wheel is also useful: I use it to relieve stress. I like wood shavings, shredded paper, and natural soft fluff for bedding, I build my own little nests!"

🐍 Snakes 🐍

Slash, owned by Annie from says: "The equipment you'll need to keep a snake like me is expensive so be ready! What you'll need varies depending on the breed of snake so make sure you look up the best equipment for the kind you want. Snakes such as myself need to eat small mammals so make sure you're ready for that!! But never feed me live animals! This isn't just cruel, it's illegal. Make sure you find a reputable pet shop that provides good quality frozen mice - yum! Buying a bigger vivarium at the beginning will mean you don't need to buy another one for a while (snakes need bigger homes as they grow). I can die from stress so my owners need to take care that the temperature is right all the time and that I have a big area to hide in. I need to be able to sleep somewhere where I'm full covered - an igloo/cave is perfect."

🐣 Budgies 🐣

Tweety, owned by Francesca from says: "My Mum's main advice for anyone buying a budgie is to be prepared for a lot of noise! We are certainly not the quietest of pets - I love a little sing song! We quite social animals so I enjoy being in a room with people for company! I absolutely loves the Neighbours theme tune and I chirp along very loudly! I also make a lot of mess, my feathers get all over the place and stick to everything! (We are very, very cute though). I live in a Vision cage which was perfect for two budgies - my Mum I would recommend it 100%!"

🐠 Tropical Fish 🐠

Finch and Violet, owned by Charlene from says: "Tropical fish like us are high maintenance. It's essential that you keep our water at the right temperature. We don't need feeding every single day, just a small amount every second day! You must change our water regularly, perhaps every few weeks! Don’t ever change the water fully at the one time; every time you are cleaning the tank perhaps change 20/30% of the water. But it is vital that you build up some bacteria in our tank. If it is too clean, it's unhealthy! When introducing new fish to our tank, leave the new fish in its bag in the tank for at least 20-30 minutes to let it adjust to its new surroundings. Feed the other fish so that they are not stressed or threatened by the newcomer! You could also turn the light off in our tank to reduce stress levels at the beginning. Keep an eye on us! Some can be fin nippers! You don’t want a school of fish ganging up on one of your other fin babies! Also, don’t overcrowd the tank! If you are unsure about anything – Pets At Home are great and will be able to answer any questions for you."

🐀 Rats 🐀

Velcro, owned by Helen from says: "Rats like me and my chum Zipi are actually clean animals, but our cages still need to be cleaned at least once a week! We should have a little house or nest to sleep in, shredded paper is great for padding this. We're really sociable, and it's important to get us out and tame us, as well as buying us pairs, so that we have company. But we can breed from 5 weeks old so get two of the same sex! We also need quite a bit of exercise, they should be out of the cage for about an hour a day. You can buy us a ball to roll around in (careful though, hamster size balls are too small), and you can make obstacle courses for us out of toilet roll tubes! They can get quite big – a normal hamster cage will be too small. The most important thing is that you have time for us. We need play time, We won’t be happy if they are just left in their cage. Us rats were the first pet my Mum ever had and she thinks we were brilliant!"

🐢 Tortoises 🐢

Bert, owned by Kate from says: "When, a couple of years ago, Kate's husband announced that he'd like to get a tortoise, she thought what a nice easy present to get - but how wrong was she!! I was adopted from someone who was looking to re-home me, and I arrived with all my essential equipment: tortoise table, heat lamp, feeding bowls and substrate. Many tortoises such as myself end up being re-homed, so if you're looking for one it's worth asking around before going to a pet shop. We tortoises are very sociable  and love human company - every morning when my parents come downstairs I poke my little head out to say hello! I live on fresh fruit and veg,  with a bit of calcium powder to strengthen my shell. Each type of tortoise will need a slightly different diet, so this is something that is worth looking into. Tortoises also require regular baths as this is how they hydrate. My parents love me to bits and cannot imagine life without me, but they would advise that you're sure that you can dedicate the time to them that they deserve - the more you interact with them, the more they give you in return!"

🐭 Guinea Pigs 🐭

Maggie and Lily, owned by Llinos from say: "It is always recommended to buy two guinea pigs, not one. We are such social animals and will be unhappy alone. But before leaving the shop be 200% sure that the guinea pigs are of the same sex! We would advise spending £60 on a decent cage - we need you to completely clean it out once or twice a week. Use shavings or newspaper in the bottom of the cage to cushion our feet. We love exercise, and you can make us a run easily with cardboard, boxes, anything you have lying around the house. One thing to be wary of is that we can be quite noisy but our Mum says that it's lovely to hear us, we make sure she never feels alone. Our teeth don't grow like hamsters' do and have never needed to be cut. Our little nails do need trimming though and the vet charges a lot for that. Instead, our Mum bought a £3 pair of clippers and does it herself, we don't like it but it needs to be done!"

Thank you to all of these fab pets (and to their bloggers!) for sharing their ownership expertise!

Do you have any pets? If you have any animal care advice to add, please comment below! I absolutely love seeing everyone's pet pictures, so please tweet me some of yours!

Until next time,

A x