If you’re thinking of getting your first pet, you need to know how to prepare. Caring for an animal comes with immense responsibility, and it can be tough to know where to start if you’ve never owned a pet. But adding a pet to your life doesn’t have to add any major stress. In fact, pets are perfect stress relievers! Here are some tips to help you add your own furry friend to your life:
Matching a Pet to Your Lifestyle
Don’t just go off cuteness when considering what pet is right for you. If you’ve always wanted a black lab but live in a studio apartment, then you may need to rethink your pet goals. Think about the size of your home, your lifestyle and your future plans when picking out a pet. Also think about any allergies. Looking for a dog but don’t have time to train a puppy? Give a senior dog a chance! So many senior dogs are dropped off at shelters each year with so much more love left to give. They’re the perfect match for anyone looking for a laid back, loving companion.
Preparing for Your Pet’s Arrival
Once you’ve settled on the pet that is perfect for you, you’ll want to get your home ready. Pick up a cushy bed where your new friend can rest. If you’re lucky enough to adopt a senior pet, find a ramp or stairs to help them access high spots like the couch or the car. You’ll also need bowls for food and water. Raised feeders can be perfect for aging pets, and automatic feeders for when you’re away from home can help as well (read some reviews online for the best feeders on the market). Grab some food and treats as well — look for organic formulas without fillers that will help with your pet’s specific needs. Finally, be prepared to clean up all that hair your new, furry friend will leave behind. If you don’t already have one, buy yourself a quality vacuum specifically designed for cleaning thick carpeting.
Welcoming Your Pet Into Your Life
Don’t be surprised if your new pet spends a lot of time napping when they come home. Life in the shelter is tough, and it can take a day or two for animals to bounce back. If you have a senior pet, they may sleep a little more, even when they’re all settled. Try to set up a routine with your new pet to help them adapt to all the new changes. Above all, be patient as you get to know one another. Rescued animals may have some behavioral issues at first, but it’s nothing a little positive training can’t fix.
Nurturing the Pet-Parent Bond
When you adopt an animal, it can take time to feel a real connection. If your new pet needs some help bonding with you, know that the simplest of tasks can help. Go for long walks together and bring some tasty treats along. Schedule playtime and training with each other to engage your pet and keep them from getting bored. Even older dogs can benefit from learning tricks and commands. Use treats and praise to build a positive relationship with your new pet, and don’t forget to give out lots of love.
Protecting Your Pet
Pets are completely dependent on their humans. It’s up to you to keep your new pet safe and healthy. Two of the first ways to do so is to spay/neuter and microchip your pet. With millions of homeless animals in shelters, pet overpopulation is a real issue. Don’t let your pet contribute to the problem. Spaying and neutering can also reduce the risk of health issues, so it’s a smart move all around. If your pet isn’t microchipped, you’ll want to take care of that as well. Lost pets are more likely to be reunited with their owners if they have a microchip, and it’s a fairly easy procedure for your pet.
If you’re becoming a pet owner for the first time, you’re in for a life-changing experience! Caring for an animal is a big commitment, but it’s one that comes with more perks than you know. Find a pet that’s right for you, be patient, and become a hero to an animal in need.