First -Time Pet Owner? Set Yourself Up for Success with Preparation

From rabbits to cats to fish to lizards to dogs – there are plenty of choices when you’re looking for a pet. Each animal is different in terms of care, feeding, behavior, cost, housing, and demands on your time. Finding one that suits your unique needs and wants requires a bit of research and consideration on your part. But knowing what you’re getting into means you can better care for your pet and increases the likelihood of having a happy pet and a good relationship.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Type of Pet

When contemplating what type of pet to get, consider what will work best for your home. If you have a small space, a large and energetic dog may not work out. Also, consider if want to clean a fish tank, change a litter box, or clean up dog hair from everything you own. Do you have space outside for a dog to play, or are you willing to take a dog on one or two long walks every day?

Determine how much time you have to devote to a pet. While some pets can be left alone all day, other pets won’t do well in those conditions. What is your activity level? If you’re physically active, do you want your pet to go with you when you exercise? People who are more sedentary should avoid dogs with high energy levels.

Consider the financial aspects of a pet too. Some pets require expensive habitats or food, and dogs and cats are the most expensive in their first year of life. Also, consider whether or not you could afford a medical crisis if something were to happen to your pet. Having children requires special considerations. Consider how having a pet affects them, and ensure you choose an animal and/or breed that’s known for being family-friendly and good with children.

How to Be a Successful Pet Owner

Before you bring home your pet, pet-proof your home. Animals love to explore, especially in new places and situations. Ensure chemicals, cleaning agents, and other harmful substances are out of reach. You’ll also want to remove any items you wouldn’t want your pet to damage, such as plants, clothes, and shoes. Keep countertops and floors clear, cabinets locked, and electrical cords and wires secured to walls. Keeping toys – especially chew toys and scratching posts – throughout the house encourages your pet to play with those instead of your items.

Pets benefit immensely from schedules and set routines. Start a regular routine as soon as they are arrive at your new home to encourage desired behavior and keep your pet happy. Dogs need a bathroom schedule, which will encourage potty training. All animals need exercise and playtime. Aim to set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day for your pet. Feed your pet the proper amount at the same time each day. Feed your pet a complete and balanced diet to keep them happy and healthy. Consult your veterinarian to see what diet is best for your pet. Be sure to schedule annual checkups for your pet too and keep up to date on vaccinations.

Bonding with Your New Pet

When attempting to bond with your pet, it’s helpful to understand their language. Read up on cues to know when your pet is happy, sad, mad, tired, etc. Just like humans, pets have likes and dislikes. Understanding and respecting your pet’s preferences is the key to connecting with him or her. Training, grooming, petting, and generally caring for your pet also build a bond.

If you have a companion animal, bonding can be instantaneous, but it can also take up to about 6 months or longer to completely bond and learn each other’s routines. Continue to train with your animal every day for at least two 15-minute sessions. To improve bonding, spend quality time with your service dog as well as. For example, incorporate playtime and walks into your daily routine.

Choosing the right pet for you and your lifestyle is one of the most important parts of pet ownership. Also, preparing for how to care for your pet and working to forge a strong bond makes life easier for you and your pet. Regardless of which pet you choose to bring into your home, you’re sure to make lasting memories and gain a loving companion.


By Jessica Brody



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