Choosing a pet

Before you buy a pet, there are important issues you need to think about, such as:

  • if you are prepared for the commitment and cost of pet ownership
  • how much free time you have
  • if you have children or elderly people living with you
  • the temperament of the pet you want
  • if you rent your home, remember that some rental contracts don't allow pets
  • what you will do with your pet when you're away from home

If you have other pets, consider how a new pet will fit in with your existing ones.

Choosing the right pet for you

When you are deciding what sort of pet you would like to adopt, consider how much maintenance you are willing to take on.

Dogs and cats are popular choices for pets. Find out the responsibilities of owning a dog or a cat.

Other pet choices are:


Some birds have very long life spans, so check the breeds you are interested in to find out how long a commitment you'll be making. If you get a bird you'll need to make sure:

  • the bird’s natural call and vocalisation does not disrupt or inhibit an activity ordinarily carried out in the surrounding neighbourhood
  • the bird's cage is clean and there's plenty of room
  • there's fresh water and food
  • if you put your bird outside make sure it is safe from predators, such as cats and wild birds. Don't leave them sitting in direct sunlight or in cold winds

Guinea pigs, rats and mice

Guinea pigs, rats and mice are very friendly, particularly if they get a lot of human company.

They don't require the time commitment of dogs, cats and birds, which can make them a good pet for children. However, they have a short life expectancy.

If you have one of these pets you'll need:

  • a good cage to keep your animal in and keep predators out
  • a clean cage
  • fresh water and food


Pet reptiles include frogs, lizards, snakes and turtles.

You'll need to research carefully before deciding on a pet reptile. Each type has their own requirements and can have very long life expectancies.

You may need a licence for keeping reptiles. For more information contact the Department of Environment and Resource Management.


If you're setting up an aquarium make sure you research the fish types so the ones you choose are compatible.

Water quality and temperature are very important. Many fish die because the water is too hot or too cold, has the wrong ph level or an inappropriate level of salt.

There are many types of fish, including:

  • gold fish: they require the least care and expense, but still need regular feeding and tank maintenance
  • tropical fish: need to be kept at suitable temperatures
  • salt-water fish: also need to be kept at suitable temperatures and require the most care and expense


You can keep horses in Brisbane if you comply with the requirements under the Animals Local Law 2017 (local law).

The keeper of an animal must provide an enclosure that is appropriate to prevent the animal going over, under, through or otherwise escaping it. It is also a requirement to ensure that the horse doesn’t cause a nuisance.

A permit is also required for keeping livestock in a residential area, except for a rural or rural residential area. Where the keeping of the animal is authorised by a development approval issued by Council, a permit is no longer required.

Find out more about the regulations for owning a domestic horse or a racehorse.

Information links

Last updated: 3 May 2019