We are a nation of animal lovers. Almost half (46%) of households in the UK own pets, and many more of us would probably love to if we could. Unfortunately, our living situations and routines often limit our ability to look after pets, so we decide not to.
Often, living in a flat or apartment is a major reason for putting pet ownership on hold. Having limited indoor space, and usually no private garden or outdoor area, doesn’t tend to suit animals. However, it’s not an issue for a few particular animals which might make ideal companions in your flat (as long as your landlord allows them).
The best pets to have in a flat
Fish – Many types of small aquatic life make great pets for people in small homes, including fish, small crabs, shrimp and so on. You can choose an appropriately sized tank for your pets, and as long as you keep up the maintenance you should be fine.
Guinea pigs – These entertaining little animals only need a small amount of space to be content, so as long as you give your guinea pig a decent sized cage and some fun ways to exercise you should be able to keep it in your apartment.
Tarantulas – One of the best low-maintenance pets you can have, tarantulas are ideal for anyone who finds spiders more interesting than scary. The bigger ones are often the least worrying, because at least you can always see where they are! They don’t make a mess and are generally easy to look after in a small space.
The worst pets to have in a flat
Dogs – Although dogs are among the most popular pets, and owning one can even offer several health and lifestyle benefits, they aren’t suited to life in an apartment. They need access to outdoor space so they can get exercise and go to the bathroom, plus they can get stressed out in a cramped space.
Cats – A cat is a great low-maintenance pet, but also a good companion. Unfortunately they also need to roam around outside, usually alone, to stay happy and healthy. If you live several floors up with no way for your cat to get in and out safely, this isn’t going to happen.
Chickens – Although they aren’t the most common pets, lots of people love chickens. Sadly it’s highly inadvisable to keep chickens in an enclosed space such as a flat, and they really need to be kept outside at all times with their own coop to take shelter in.
Horse riding is something you can get started with fairly easily, especially if you have a great teacher who can guide you. However, there is no avoiding the fact that you will definitely need certain horse riding equipment and clothing in order to get off to a great start. Here are some of the basics you will need to track down as a minimum starting point if you wish to succeed.
Read more: Basic Horse Riding Equipment
Anyone who owns a freshwater aquarium knows that it can be a lot of effort to maintain it and keep all your tank’s inhabitants healthy at all times. A sump is an excellent way to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of your aquarium, keeping everything in great condition for longer. You don’t necessarily need to invest in a costly setup from an aquarium supply store either since you can actually produce an effective one yourself.
This way, with little effort and expense, you can increase the total capacity of your tank and make it look even better by moving all the filtration and cleaning equipment out of the way. You can also introduce supplements and changes into your water supply more naturally and safely, plus changing the water is made a little easier.
Along with all these benefits, creating your custom sump has an additional advantage over even the most expensive manufactured models. If you build your own from scratch, you’re not limited by the original design and you can tailor the sump to exactly what you need for your aquarium. You have the option to leave no wasted space in your tank and include everything you need to get the balance right in your little aquatic ecosystem.
For a freshwater sump, the construction is relatively simple, and you just need to plan what to include. Some examples that many people choose to add in their DIY sump include:
- Isolation Area – New additions to your tank, or any individuals that have been singled out or stressed by the other occupants, can benefit from a little time alone in the sump if you include a safe area.
- Foam Filters – A simple block of foam is sufficient to filter all solid debris out of the water for your entire tank, and can last a long time.
- Media Sections – You can include different areas in your sump for various media depending on your tank’s needs. This allows you to control levels of beneficial bacteria in the water, balance the pH of the tank and keep everything as it should be.
- Pump Area – The final section of your sump should contain the pump that keeps the water flowing through and everything filtering correctly. The power level of your pump should correspond to the size of the tank and the type of fish you’re keeping.
Accessories for dogs sometimes bring to mind the over-the-top outfits we often see in comedies on television, but actually there’s nothing wrong with exercising some creativity when it comes to your dog’s lead and collar! They all need one, so why not jazz them up a bit? Here are some selections chosen by us after scouting around online.
This stylish leopard print dog collar is available in a range of different sizes, plus it can come with a matching lead. It’s a classic style that’s been brought up to date in a great way – the collars are made of 100% recycled plastic bottles, so they’re environmentally friendly too.
This Salt Dog Studios collar is lined with velvet to make it extra comfortable, and it can also be ordered with a customised buckle if you like. Most importantly, it looks super stylish and could be the perfect fashion accessory for almost any small dog.Read more: 5 Fabulous Dog Leads & Collars
If you’re taking your love of animals further than a couple of pets in the house and starting up your own farm, you’re taking on a big challenge but it can certainly be done. Many people switch to farming after doing something completely different because it’s a great way to spend time working with animals and you can specialise in whatever you want. You may not have much experience, but over time you can learn anything as long as you start off with some of the essential products and setup.
First you need to ensure you have the basics set up for your outdoor animals, which might involve more building work than furniture buying. For example, if you’re planning to keep horses, of course you’ll need appropriate stables, and other animals all require some sort of shelter even if they spend much of their time outside. You’ll also need the basic equipment to take care of them outside; for example, even cows in a field need food and drink, which you can provide through concrete water troughs and other feeding equipment.Read more: Essential farm and stable outdoor furniture
A bearded dragon is a super cool pet to own, and they’re great companions as long as you look after them properly. They can also be sensitive, and especially when you first get a bearded dragon, it might have to go through a transitory period while it gets used to its new surroundings. An important thing to do is to provide a living environment for your new pet that it can adapt to comfortably, so setting up your vivarium properly is vital. Consider the following points when looking into this.
Size – Since bearded dragons tend to grow to a good size, your enclosure will have to be at least 1.5 metres long, but the bigger space you can provide, the better. A dragon will love to make the most of this space, even if it starts off looking small inside. You might be tempted to have a tall vivarium so your dragon has room to climb, which they tend to enjoy, but it’s not essential for them to be comfortable and can actually cause a problem with regulating the temperature of their environment, so anything between 0.5 – 1 metre of height should suffice.
Design – Vivariums for sale in the UK don’t usually vary much since bearded dragons have simple requirements. You may opt for an entirely glass design so you can see inside more clearly and it arguably looks better on display, but the ideal choice is a wooden box with sliding glass doors. This, again, makes temperature control easier which is important for dragons, plus it will work out cheaper.
Temperate – As bearded dragons can get ill easily from being too hot or too cold, you have to make sure your vivarium allows them for proper thermoregulation. Ideally, you need to create a temperate gradient inside the enclosure, so at one end you have a bulb attached to a thermostat allowing you to create a warm basking spot, and at the other end, the enclosure will be naturally cooler. This also helps stabilise the temperature if it gets cold at night and hot in the day. Then the dragon can move where they need to help them stay comfortable and digest their food properly.
Decoration – The fun part of setting up your vivarium is creating an attractive environment for your bearded dragon to enjoy. Since dragons are fond of climbing and hanging around in different places, rock structures, bamboo shoots and other platforms will be great fun for them. You should also design your layout in such a way that it stops them getting hurt by falling or touching your heat source.
Our pets are part of the family for many of us, and we don’t even want to think about the idea of anything happening to them. Unfortunately, life is unexpected and no matter what happens your pet is likely to need some extra care and attention at some point in their life, whether it’s due to illness, accident or simply old age. Pet insurance can be a great value solution to help you through when difficult circumstances occur.
The main benefit of having pet insurance is that eliminates any future moral dilemma. Being forced to choose between your pet and other expenses would be a horrible situation that nobody wants to be trapped in, so insurance balances out the potential costs and gives you a safety net, meaning you can make a decision purely based on the likely health benefits for your animal when you need to.
Another factor to consider is that vet’s bills aren’t getting any cheaper. As treatments become more advanced (which is great, of course), we’re able to give animals better care than ever, but it comes at a price. General checkups are getting more expensive, let alone surgery that wasn’t cheap to begin with. Insurance helps mitigate these costs too.
You might be amazed (and perhaps overwhelmed) by the choices on offer when it comes to pet insurance. The benefit of this is, as long as you have all the necessary knowledge to make an informed choice, you can pick a plan that’s perfectly suited to the needs of you and your pet. For a cat or a dog, you’re probably just looking for insurance that covers all their potential medical costs, but for some animals like horses, the problems and costs can be more complex, so you may consider cover that includes your equipment, stables, and other property as well as accidental damage.
Above all, insurance for your pet is easy to arrange in comparison to the headaches associated with unexpected bills and problems. In order to guarantee you’re doing everything you can to protect your pet, we would highly recommend at least some level of cover.
Looking after some pets is more complicated than simply buying a few bits and pieces to keep them entertained. A horse is a classic example – looking after one is a hugely rewarding experience, but it doesn’t come easy! Fortunately you can find equestrian equipment online at great prices from a good tack shop, and this is all relatively easy. You just need to know what to look for!
Before you have your horse, you probably need to establish exactly what you’ll do with your current outside space to make sure you have room to house them and keep them happy. If you have a sufficiently large yard at the back of your house, you can construct a stable or convert a suitable outbuilding into one if necessary. You’ll need access to fields nearby or at least to your transport if you need to go elsewhere for riding.
In terms of furnishings, your horse probably won’t be too demanding. They don’t even need their own bed! However, you might need built-in storage to keep all your equestrian equipment near the stables, and other pieces of furniture to help you out when feeding your horse, cleaning out the stable and so on. Tools are essential, including shovels, pitchforks and wheelbarrows to assist in moving and cleaning around the yard.Read more: Low Cost Equestrian Products
Pet birds can be a lot of fun, and a cockatiel can be one of the most amusing of all. You can enjoy some human-bird bonding time by teaching it to mimic simple sounds, and if you put in enough effort you should be able to get your pet to repeat words and phrases, as well as whistle tunes. Parrots are a little better at speaking, but a lot higher maintenance to keep. Here are the main steps to follow if you fancy giving this a try…
1) Build your relationship
You’ll need to start bonding with your pet first and interacting with them so they can become relaxed. A cockatiel will only be teachable once its fully tamed and happy to be around you and other humans.
2) Keep your bird healthy
Another important aspect of making sure your pet is in a position to learn is making sure it’s healthy and comfortable at all times. Does it have enough space in its cage, and some time to fly around? Is it eating and drinking properly? As well as these physical factors, you actually need to think about a cockatiel’s mental health! Its environment needs to be fun and stimulating if you want to facilitate learning.
If you’re new to fishkeeping, you’re probably quickly realising it can be a tricky and expensive hobby, but it can also be very rewarding. Looking after fish properly is truly a skill and takes time to practice, but you can get yourself off to the best possible start with one of these excellent fish tanks.
All of these products are available in the UK from aquarium shops online and in stores. Which one is the most suitable will depend on what kind of fish you’re looking after, how much space you have available and other factors, but we think these might be some great options to consider.
Aqua Medic Blenny Nano Reef Tank
This tank is a very comprehensive option featuring high quality filters and LED lights plus its own protein skimmer and NanoProp 5000 current control that lets you set your own level of water movement. It’s an 80 litre model so you’ll need a significant amount of space, and it’s not that cheap, but it comes with nearly everything you need to get started with a saltwater aquarium from scratch. A matching stand is also available to complete the look.Read more: 5 spectacular aquariums & fish tanks for all spaces and budgets