What All Pets Need

Irrespective of what the animal pet is, there are a few basic requirements that you must supply for you pet:
  • Shelter – this should be of a size that is suitable for the pet; provides necessary protection from environmental elements; offers a clean living condition.
  • Protection from predators (domestic, feral and wild animals) & protection from rodents.
  • Food – this should be of a quality and quantity suitable to the pet and its age.
  • Water – this should be clean and supplied fresh at least daily. At least two different sources (in case one is sun, contaminated or spilled) is recommended.
  • Security – able to contain at all times (e.g. birds), or at times (e.g. lock dogs in kennel when entertaining).
Dog Kennels
Some dogs are happy just to roll up on a blanket near the back door. Others prefer the comfort of a kennel.
Points to observe when looking for a kennel include:
  • sturdy and durable construction
  • size that is comfortable for the dog - large enough for the pet to turn around in but not too large for it to be dwarfed by it.
  • Contain no poisonous paints, finishes or fumes
  • Be rainproof and sheltered from weather extremes like fierce winds or snow
  • Provide adequate ventilation to ensure pet has fresh air
  • Can be cleaned.


After fish, birds are possible the most demanding when it comes to housing and accommodation.
Not that birds require high maintenance, but that they have specific requirements.

Many popular small birds are well designed for small cages. They can be satisfactorily housed in a relatively small aviary and still remain healthy. For most birds however, they must have room to stretch their wings and fly.

In addition to the above mentioned basic requirements all pets have, birds also need:
  • No exposed nails, wire ends or other sharp points
  • A source of materials for building a nest.

Aviaries are best to include the following:
  • Growing plants (species and habitats similar to what the birds have in their natural environment).
  • Running water
  • Larger aviaries are best to have an earth covered floor, small aviaries are better with a metal or concrete floor which can be easily cleaned.

How to rodent proof an aviary
Have a 30 cm (or greater) galvanized iron skirt (wall) at the bottom of the outside walls. This is a slippery surface which needs to be climbed up before mice can get to the wire mesh.
Any nails in the lower wall should be banged in fully and smoothed over (otherwise they can provide a foothold for mice).
Alternatively, the aviary might be set on stilts (stumps) with a floor raised above ground level. The floor might be made of wire mesh, perhaps with a removable tray containing soil and grass. This set up is particularly easy to clean.

General Aviary Design
Commonly the aviary has two sections:
  • An enclosed section (to provide protection) with solid walls made from brick, cement sheet, galvanized iron, etc and a solid roof.
  • A free flight/observation area joining one side of the enclosed section (with wire mesh on all sides and the roof).

The enclosed area for a larger bird aviary might be 2m x 2m x 3m high.
The free flight area for a larger bird aviary might be up to 10m long and 3m wide.
Aviaries are best protected from winds, but where part of the aviary will catch some direct sunlight each day. It may be necessary to build or plant a windbreak.
They should be located where disturbance is minimal (this is particularly important when breeding). An aviary should not catch car headlights from roads for instance during the night.
In the southern hemisphere aviaries are best to face north and east to allow birds to catch the direct sun at the colder times of the day during winter.

For Tropical Birds in Cooler climates
A totally enclosed building with a viewing window may be appropriate,
where temperature inside can be maintained at appropriate levels.
It is beneficial to insulate the walls and roof.
In very cold areas or inland where temperatures can get too hot, heating and cooling equipment attached to a temperature sensing solenoid valve may be necessary (depending on the variety of bird).
A minimum size building would be 3m X 3m X 2m tall.

(Based on Schedule 10 from the Victorian Department of Fisheries and Wildlife)
 4 sq.m.
 30  2 m
 Cockatoos  9 sq.m.   6  2.5 m
 Finches  4 sq.m  50  2 m
 4 sq.m  30  2 m
 Parrots (King & Superb)  9 sq.m.   6  2.3 m
 Pigeons  9 sq.m.  12  2 m
 Quail  4 sq.m  30  2 m


Cats are our second most popular pet; however they are also the number 1 enemy of Australian wildlife. Responsible cat owners should not allow them to roam unrestrained; particularly at night. There is also a trend toward some municipalities moving to tighten requirements for keeping cats.
The best answer is to install a cage system that allows cats to move outside; but also come through a flap (cat door) into the house. You can achieve this by using a large bird cage, set against the wall of a house; or alternatively, a specialised purpose built for your cat.

Cat Runs & Modular Pet Parks
Most cat owners would not like the idea of 'caging' a cat, but with cat runs the owner can be assured the cat is still given plenty of room to roam the house and yard. Additionally the benefits to native animal protection is immense.
The RSPCA recommends cat runs from Catnip Australia. In simple terms these are a modular containment units, constructed to provide the cat with an array of space and areas to run in. They can be connected to a house or garage if you wish, allowing the cat to come and go inside or out.
If the weather is fine, the cat can wonder in and out of the house at its leisure. If the weather turns bad, the cat can return to the comfort of the lounge.

Learn More about Caring for Pets with the following courses:

Pet Care -click here

Natural Health Care for Animals -click here
Use our free career and course counselling service.