Before getting a pet

Before getting a pet

Things to consider

A chinchilla, a hamster, a turtle, a lizard, a rabbit and a cat

"Am I suitable to be a pet owner?" 

Before getting a pet, ask yourself the following questions. Press "Yes" or "No" as appropriate.

1. Are you allowed to keep a pet in the place you live in?

Make sure you check with the management office or the owners’ corporation before you get a pet to see if keeping of pets is allowed in the building / estate you live in.
Then you should NOT get a pet. The Subsidised Housing Committee of the Housing Authority endorsed at its meeting on 25 September 2003 to uphold the ban on dogs in public housing estates. Therefore, all public housing estates in Hong Kong do not allow the keeping of dogs. Many private housing estates also ban the keeping of dogs or other pets.
A residential building


2. Is your home spacious enough for keeping a pet?

A flat
Make sure your home has enough space for the pet to move around freely and the environment is pet friendly. The space requirement for keeping different species of animals is different. Large dogs may require more space to run around while cats or other small mammals may not need as much.
If your home has little space for the pet to move around freely or your family members do not like pets or have allergies to pets, then you should NOT get a pet.


3. Do all your family members agree to have a pet?

That’s great. If you get your family’s consent before getting a pet, they will feel respected and it will be easier for them to accept a new member into the family.
Then you should NOT get a pet. You and your family members might come into conflict because of the pet.
A girl playing with her cat


4. Are you prepared to take care of a pet for its entire life?

An old cat
If you get a pet, make sure you are committed to your pet for the rest of its life, which can last for a few years to ten or so years or more depending on the type of pet. Your pet, like humans, can get ill especially as it ages, you should seek veterinary attention and provide proper care to your pet at all times.
Then you should NOT get a pet. Depending on the types of pet, some pets can live up to 15 years or more. If you are not ready to make this commitment, then don’t get a pet.


5. Do you have time to take care of a pet?

Make sure you have enough time to take good care of the pet. You will need to spend up to a few hours a day to feed the pet and depending on the type of pet, you might need to bathe, groom, walk, train, exercise and play with it.
Then you should NOT get a pet. A pet needs attention and care, if you don’t have time for it, you should not get one.
A pet owner taking care of a kitten


6. Can you afford to keep a pet?

A vet examining a cat
Make sure you set aside money for your pet. You will need to pay for its food, supplies, vet bills, etc. A pet can cost you thousands of dollars every year.
Then you should NOT get a pet. A pet cannot support itself financially, it relies on the owner to pay for its needs.


Please think carefully before getting a pet, make sure you are committed to your pet for the rest of its life. Never buy or adopt a pet on impulse, many pets are abandoned because the owners could not commit
'Pets are for life. Think before you have one.' Leaflet

Types of pets

“What kind of pet should I get?”

Choosing the right pet

It is important to choose a pet that is most suitable for you. You will gain the most from a pet whose needs, temperament and personality are compatible with your lifestyle, physical capabilities and budget. When selecting a pet, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you prefer to stay indoors or enjoy going out?

    If you spend most of your time at home, then you should consider getting a cat, chinchilla, hamster, rabbit or reptile. These pets are happy to stay indoors. If you enjoy daily activities outside of your home and are more active, then a dog might be suitable for you. Dogs enjoy outdoor exercises such as walking and running.

Dog owner walking with a dog

  1. Are there young children or elderly people in your home?

    If there are kids or elderly people in your home, you should consider the size and energy level of the pet. Chinchillas, hamsters and rabbits are very delicate, kids might not know how to handle these animals with care and might accidentally injure them. Large-sized dogs might accidentally knock down elderly people.

A lady holding a chinchilla

  1. Are there other pets in your home already?

    If you already have a pet in your home, consider carefully whether your existing pet will be able to adjust to the introduction of another animal into your home. Some pets may enjoy the company of another animal; others may feel jealous and resentful for having to share the owner’s love and attention.

Two pets at home

  1. Do you have very high standards about the cleanliness and tidiness of your home?

    If you require your home to be very neat, then you may consider choosing pets that are confined to a cage or a designated area, such as chinchillas, hamsters, rabbits or reptiles. Dogs and long-haired cats might not be suitable for you. Also bear in mind that most pets with fur shed loose hairs.

A hamster

  1. How much money are you willing to spend on your pet?

    Depending on the type of pet you get, the cost of keeping different pets can vary. It is advisable to consult a pet store or seek advice from existing pet owners about the estimated cost of keeping a certain type of pet.

A man and lady in a pet shop

  1. How much time and attention can you give to your pet?

    Different pets have different needs. Some pets such as dogs enjoy company and love interaction with humans. Dogs might bark frequently if left alone for many hours; whereas cats are content to be left alone. If you have long working hours and are always out, a cat might be a better choice for you.

A lady playing with a cat

  1. Are you willing and able to provide the necessary care to meet your pet’s specific needs?

    Some pets such as rabbits need their cages cleaned more than once per day and long-haired pets require regular grooming such as brushing and trimming. Dogs require walking and company. Learn as much as you can about the pet’s needs before getting one. Some pets also require regular health checks and vaccinations, you should be prepared to bring them to a vet for regular checkups. When your pet is sick, you should also bring it to a vet for treatment and provide adequate care.

A man brushing his cat's hair

  1. Do you prefer an affectionate pet or one that is happy to be on its own?

    Like human beings, different pets also have their own unique temperaments and personalities. If you want to be greeted passionately each time you come home, a dog might be suitable for you. If you prefer your pet to be more independent and quiet, a cat might be a better choice for you.

A happy cat

  1. Do you prefer a pet that can be trained to obey your commands?

    Some pets such as cats, resist training. Most dogs, on the other hand, enjoy training as it gives them something to do and they have an inborn desire to please their masters..

A lady with a cat

  1. How will your neighbours feel about your new pet?

    If you are getting a dog, make sure it won’t bark frequently as this might disturb your neighbours. Remember to be considerate at all times by abiding by the law, cleaning up after your pets and control your pets properly in public places so that they won’t cause nuisances to others.

A dog owner picking up the dog's poo