Guest Post By Jessica Brody
Pets can be adorable, but they can also be a lot of work. If you are considering adopting your very first pet, you need to know this. You also need to know which steps to take and supplies to pick up in order to help your new furry family member settle into a life with you. If you’re not sure where to start, these tips may help.
Pick Out the Right Pet
Every year, pets are returned to shelters because they are too big, too old, or too “something” for their new owners. With nearly 20 percent of adopted pets being brought back to the shelter, and often being euthanized, it’s crucial for new pet owners to choose a pet that truly fits their lifestyle.
For example, if you love to exercise, then owning a dog that needs plenty of activity, be it a hike in the woods or a romp in your own backyard, could be a good fit.
Because they are larger and need to move more, dogs can get destructive when they are not exercised properly. So if you live a more sedentary lifestyle, then a cat may be a better fit, since you won’t need to worry about walks and outdoor playtime.
You’ll also need to account for the size of your pet. Dogs can weigh as little as 5 pounds to as much as 200 pounds, so carefully consider the type of breed you’re choosing and use a puppy weight calculator to estimate a breed’s weight and height.
Pet-Proof Around the Home
Animals can be curious and are bound to get into things around your home. So if you want to prevent your pet from being injured or becoming ill and protect your belongings, you should spend some time preparing your home.
Start by picking up and putting away anything that could be hazardous or poisonous to your new pet. While most folks know that things like medications are dangerous for pets, some of the items on that list may surprise you. For instance, gum and candy can be fatal if swallowed by pets when those treats contain xylitol, and chocolate can be harmful as well. Houseplants, batteries, potpourri, and even socks can also pose a threat to your pet’s health. Because accidents do happen, you also need to keep your vet’s information handy.
When it comes to your yard, installing a fence can protect your pup. A fence can prevent an escape and stop your dog from wandering into neighbors’ yards. A local fence company can install a fence in your yard; just make sure to review customer feedback before working with a contractor to ensure they’re reputable. Installing a fence averages around $4,500, but you can lower that price if you use cheaper materials like wood.
Find Some Interactive Pet Toys for Play
You may want to pick up a few essential pet supplies before you bring your new pet home for the first time, but it’s also important for pets to have a few toys. Some of the best toys for cats include an interactive dancing mouse and a cardboard scratcher, both of which will keep cats active and prevent them from getting bored. Some signs of boredom to watch out for in your new cat include eating too much, getting aggressive with other people or pets, and destroying your belongings.
Dogs can exhibit similar behaviors when they feel bored, so it’s also important to pick up toys for a new dog or puppy as well. If you plan on leaving your pup at home, puzzle toys can be a good way to curb separation anxiety and keep your new dog entertained.
Build a Bond
Both cats and dogs need quite a bit in order to stay healthy in a new home, but what your new pet really needs from you is time. Spending time with your pet is the best way to create a loving bond that will last a lifetime, so be sure to leave plenty of time for play, walks, and cuddle sessions with your new family member.
If you adopt an animal from a rescue, also keep in mind that these pets can take some time to adjust and come out of their shell. Just give your pet plenty of space and positive encouragement, and they should begin to settle into your home. If your pet is having a hard time adjusting, additional training may be needed, especially if your shelter dog is exhibiting guarding, destructive, or aggressive behaviors.
With so many animals in need, it’s always wonderful when people decide to become first-time pet owners. But new pet owners need to take the right steps when choosing a pet, preparing their homes, and adjusting their lives to the responsibilities of owning an animal. It can be a real transition but one that can also bring a lifetime of love and happiness.
Guest Author Bio-
Jessica Brody writes for Our Best Friends
Let’s start a conversation in the comments below! How did you prepare for a new fur baby? Do you have any additional advice?