Cover photo via Pixabay by Winsker
Becoming a first-time pet owner is a happy occasion, but it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. No matter what type of animal you want, there are many things you’ll need to do to ensure that his comfort and safety are a priority. This means getting your home ready as well as preparing your family members to be pet owners (even young children). Kids should be well informed on how to treat the animal and how to take care of it so that everyone is on the same page.
Many pet owners come to think of their animals as just another part of the family, which is wonderful; however, it’s important to remember that pets need a very different type of care than people do. Young ones need lots of love and attention during the first several weeks, and they require a lot of patience as they learn the rules about using the potty and how to navigate their new home. Even older animals still sometimes need reminders on behavior, and if you’re pet was rescued, he may have anxieties and fears that need to be worked through.
If you feel you and your family are ready for a pet, read on to find out how to prepare for his arrival.
Do some homework
It’s important to think about the type of animal you want and what will work best with your family. If you have small children, certain breeds will get along better than others; also, take into account the ages of your kids and the age of the pet. You might not want a puppy–who needs lots of attention–if you have a baby or very young child. Pet care can easily become overwhelming if you have lots of other responsibilities.
Do some research on animal breeds and, once you have an idea of what you want, look at how much they eat per week, how big they’ll get, and what health concerns you may have to deal with. For instance, small dogs with pushed-in faces, like pugs, often have respiratory issues.
Think about your schedule
If you work long hours or are away from the home most of the day, it’s imperative to think about how your pet will be cared for. If you have family members who can take over once they get home, great. If not, you’ll need to make arrangements, especially if you have a dog who needs to go out several times a day. Consider hiring a dog walker who can come and let your pet out while you’re at work so you don’t have to worry about whether or not he’s being taken care of. It might also be a good idea to think about training, and whether you or a professional should do it.
Preparing your home is a big part of getting a new pet. You’ll need to make sure there are no hazards, such as poisonous plants (both inside and outside the home) or wires that could be chewed on, and you’ll also need to ensure that you have everything your pet needs at the ready. This includes bedding, toiletry items, food and water and bowls, treats, a leash and collar, and toys. Look for a veterinarian with an office nearby and set up an appointment as soon as possible so you can get your pet vaccinated and make arrangements for the appropriate flea and tick medication.
Plan for unexpected expenses
Pets need much more than just food and water; to name a few items: they require a comfortable bed, toys, a collar and/or leash, and toilet items. They will also require you to shell out money unexpectedly. For example, an anxious dog may chew through table legs, which will require repair. According to Home Advisor, the average cost to repair furniture in nearby Minneapolis is between $81 – $172. If you start, and maintain, an emergency fund, unexpected expenses won’t cause undue stress.
Set aside some bonding time
It’s a good idea to take some time off from your busy schedule to spend with your pet after you first bring him home. Find some fun toys to play with or take him to the park. Spending bonding time with your pet will allow for trust and will keep him happy and healthy. You can also have your family members do the same, but it’s important to teach young children how to approach your pet and how to take care of him. For instance, little ones need to know where to pet a dog or cat to avoid being scratched or nipped at.
Bringing home a new pet is a big change for everyone, so be patient and show your animal that you’re happy to have him in your home. This will ensure that you have the best pet/owner relationship for years to come.