Pets & animals
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • Over half the households in the UK have a pet animal or bird of some kind, and care of these pets is an important way of using free time.  It can be closely linked to other activities like walking and horse riding.  

  • Cats and dogs are the most popular animals, but other common pets include birds and fish.  Some people keep more exotic types of pets, including snakes and reptiles.

  • In addition to basic care in the form of feeding, exercising, and enjoying the company of pets, for some people animals are a more serious interest.  Training them, breeding, and generally learning more about them can all be important free time occupations.    

  • It is easy to obtain a pet, but it is important to have enough knowledge and time to care for pets properly.

Find out more


Aviculture Society  0117 970 6176
National Council for Aviculture  01782 305042
Cats Protection League  01403 221900
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy 01278 727575
Association of Pet Dog Trainers  01428 707620
The Kennel Club  0207 493 2001
British Aquatic Resource Centre
Freshwater Fish and Home Aquarium Internet Club
Xalan's Homepage and UK Aquarium 
Royal Pigeon Racing Association  01452 713529



Cage & Aviary Birds 
The Budgerigar 
Cat World 
Dog World 
Dogs Today 
Practical Fishkeeping 
British Homing World www. 
The Racing Pigeon 

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club covering the type of pet that interests you (see organisations above).

  • Take a class or course at your local adult education centre or see if your local group runs introductory sessions.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of pets.

  • Check in your local library/paper, pet shop or education centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • People of all ages and both sexes have pets of different kinds. Most pets are animals, birds or fish, that people have in their homes.  

  • Large pets such as horses, some dogs and other animals may have to be kept outside or elsewhere.  Much of the care can be done on your own, but for many people the pet is a member of the family who is cared for by all. 

  • Some people enjoy the stimulus and social contact of belonging to a group of pet owners.  This can be temporarily, in order to learn about caring for a new pet, or longer term where a local group meets on a more or less regular basis.  

  • Local groups also organise shows and other special events for pet owners.

Equipment or clothing
  • The pet itself is the obvious essential, plus food and other equipment necessary for its care.  

  • The amounts and costs involved can vary greatly depending on the size and nature of the pet selected.

A place or facilities
  • Some pets, particularly the large ones, require special facilities or spaces in or outside the home.  

  • Groups of pet owners may meet at such facilities (e.g. stables for horses) or in a local centre (e.g. for dog training).

Have a go - get started now


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