Tips For First-Time Pet Owners

Tips For First-Time Pet Owners
  • 7 March 2018
  • flemos

CREDIT – Jessica Brody

So you’ve decided to adopt your first pet. Congratulations! While you are excited to welcome a new member of the family, it’s important to take some time to prepare for their arrival. Selecting the right pet that fits your lifestyle and home ensures a smooth and welcoming process.

Selecting The Perfect Pet

To start, ask yourself these questions to help choose your “perfect pet”:

  • How big is your home?

Some animals might not adapt well to an apartment or small spaces. Other pets take up little space but need substantial equipment. For example, a fish tank often requires a heavy-duty piece of furniture to support its weight.

  • Do you have outdoor access?
    You may need outdoor access for your pet. Consider your pet’s safety in the area and his ability to escape your yard.
  • Who lives with you?
    Small children, family members with disabilities or chronic illnesses, allergy sufferers, and elderly people may not mix with the pet. Make sure they fit with your family.
  • What is your budget?
    Animals can cost a lot of money, from set-up costs to regular care. Plan a budget that covers feeding, veterinarian visits, toys and equipment, grooming, and emergencies.
  • What is your personality?
    Some pets are high maintenance and full of energy; others are easier for a more laid-back person. For example, while young dogs usually require daily walks, an elderly dog may prefer to be let out in the yard. What fits your lifestyle?
  • Do you have a secondary caregiver for your pet?
    Who will take care of your pet when you travel or an emergency crops up? Make sure you have someone can access your home to care for your pet if you are stuck away for long periods of time.

Researching Pet Types

After you answer these questions, you’ll know what type of pet is an ideal match. Best Friends has more insight on the various types of pets you can get. For certain animals, like dogs, the breed also plays a big role in terms of intelligence and temperament. Animal Planet has a dog breed selector tool that can help.

If you are concerned about excitable, high energy pets but you still would like a four-legged friend, you may want to consider adopting an older pet. He may have a calmer temperament and will likely be housebroken. Pet Helpful reports on what you need to know if adopting an older dog.

Preparing Your Home For Your Pet

Once you decide on a pet, you’ll have to help your pet acclimate to your home. You want to ensure that both your new pet and your family are safe and calm.

Take the time to acquaint your family with your new pet before they come home, if possible. Also, be informed of your pet’s background. Do they have any triggers? Is there anything that makes them happy?

On the day you bring your new pet home, aim to minimize everyone’s stress levels, particularly your pet. Follow all safety guidelines while transporting them. Make sure you have their favorite items around – a special toy, a blanket, healthy treats, etc. Allow them time and space to get acquainted with their new home and don’t let your family crowd them.

For elderly pets, you’ll need to pay close attention to certain issues.

  • How well can they navigate your home? If stairs are a problem, can you set up a comfortable space on the first floor?
  • Remove any obstacles that can trip up a dog with poor vision or gait. Place non-slip mats in slippery areas.
  • Consider elevating their food and water bowls for easier access.

Becoming a first-time pet owner is exciting. If you take the time to choose the right pet and prepare for their arrival, it can be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone!

Photo credit Burst