6 Essential Tips For the First Time Pet Owner
Are you a first time pet owner? There are numerous health benefits that come with owning a pet from less stress to improved heart health to weight control, so it’s no wonder there are millions of people in the United States taking care of an animal. But if you’re considering being a first-time pet owner, it’s essential that you carefully consider your options so you can pick the best pet to fit within your current lifestyle. This is key as one of your responsibilities as an owner is ensuring the health and happiness of your pet. Here are some tips to help you prepare for this exciting milestone in your life.
- Assess your home and lifestyle to determine the best pet for you. For example, if you work long hours, a dog might not make sense because most dogs prefer to be social and they need exercise. However, if you live in the Charlotte area you can contact See Spot Run Dog Walking and Pet Sitting to ensure your pooch gets plenty of exercise and time outdoors. On the flipside, a pooch could be a great pick if you’re an extremely active person who loves to spend time outdoors. If you have a small home or apartment sans yard, dogs are still a viable option, but a cat, fish aquarium, or bird are excellent choices too. If you or anyone in your family has allergies, get advice from an expert such as a doctor as to what breed might be best for your family if someone in your household suffers from allergies. There are a few non-allergenic dog breeds to consider such as a Portuguese water dog or a poodle.
- Once you determine the pet, do your homework to figure out which breed works best. Along with considering factors such as activity level, age, size, shedding tendencies and adaptability, it’s helpful to know which breeds get along with other cats, dogs, babies, and people in general, however there are always exceptions. Consider these factors carefully, as you want to make sure you can handle your pet so it doesn’t become one of the 6.5 million animals to be surrendered to a shelter each year.
- Prepare your home so your pet feels as though it has a place to call its own. A comfortable bed, a variety of toys to stimulate different senses (this prevents boredom), fresh and clean water, food/snacks for those in between meals — usually something dry that doesn’t spoil. If you have an elderly pet make sure the bed is not on a cold floor as the temperature is apt to affect sore joints. Providing he/she is allowed, invest in a few ramps or “dog stairs” to place near couches so your dog doesn’t have to jump.
- Even if your dog or cat is older, show them right away where the litter box and yard are at your home so you can prevent an accident. Expect that accidents may happen and be patient with your pet if they do. Remember that with training any new pet, consistent training is key for helping them learn and understand what you want them to do.
- Rescue pets may be particularly nervous at first, so execute caution when bringing one into your home. Don’t let your kids overstimulate the animal and be mindful of shouting and loud noises that could be considered a threat to your pet. The best thing you can do is let your new family member adjust at his/her own pace. Win the animal’s trust by letting them come to you first — no matter how much you want to smother it with love. Let it explore its new surroundings and get acclimated.
- Once you bring your pet home, you can start bonding with your pet. Regular playtime can keep your pet out of trouble (e.g. chewing up or scratching things), so make sure you make time to engage with your animal on a daily basis, especially right before and after leaving the house. It may take a while to get to know your pet’s personality, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll have a better idea of what makes your furry friend happy.
Owning a pet is a huge undertaking, so make sure you truly commit to the reality — not the fantasy. Playtime, obedience issues, cleanup, feeding times and medical bills all come with responsible ownership. As long as that doesn’t scare you, then you’re on your way to having a great relationship with your new pet based upon love and respect and we wish you the best of luck as a first time pet owner.
This was a guest blog post by Jessica, a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.