There are no animals that don't need any effort from their owners to keep them happy and healthy. So whether you're thinking about buying a horse or a cat or anything in between, you need to make sure that you've got the time, money, and patience to look after it. Our trademark in Canada is the way we care for our animals, but sadly things are not always perfect. To make sure you don't get in over your head we've created this guide to animal care. Read it before you buy.
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All animals - and people too - need food, water, shelter, and hygiene. In the wild, animals muddle through as best they can, but when they're with you these things are your responsibility. This means setting aside the time and money to do manure management, buy and put out food and water, and building or accommodating your animal a safe, warm, dry place to lay its head down at night. Research the animal's specific needs for a better idea of how much effort and money this will take.
Even if you've chosen to pay for horse boarding to avoid having to build a barn for your horse, you're still responsible for things like vet bills and proper monitoring of the animal's health. Some medical problems are obvious, like a sore paw or a cut on the nose, and others are not, so you should always take them in for regular checkups according to your veterinarian's recommended schedule. Cost and frequency of medical visits will vary between animal types, so phone your vet to get a ballpark cost of ownership.
If your animal is a working animal, bought to haul logs or provide milk or track missing sheep, it's your responsibility to make sure the animal's working conditions are safe and that the animal has everything it needs to do its job properly. This might mean buying and maintaining special harnesses, checking the work sites over for possible hazards, and monitoring your animal closely for signs of fatigue and strain. All of this takes time, effort, and money, so look up what is required for the job you want to do before buying.
Animals don't just exist to protect your home or keep your barn clear of mice. They're also companions. In the wild they'd have members of their own species to keep them company, but here all they have is you. So you need to show them affection, give them attention and praise, and train them to do their tasks. This aspect of animal care doesn't usually cost anything, but it is time consuming even if it does hold rewards for you.