Getting a Pet Soon? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Pet ownership is at an all-time high, and people are adopting new animal friends each day. But for first-timer pet parents, there are a few factors to keep in mind that may not be so obvious.
In other words, you don’t just jump into pet ownership without preparing on a mental and logistical level. We want to help you be the best pet parent possible, so we’ve outlined the necessary steps to follow before bringing your new pet home for the first time.
Just stick to this game plan, and you’ll be equipped to look after your pet and give them the great life they deserve.
Understand the Responsibility
It’s easy to see pet ownership through rose-tinted glasses when you’ve never actually owned a pet. Too many people get overwhelmed with the cuteness of a puppy or kitten and forget what a huge responsibility this can be.
Know that pets require an investment of not only money (more on that later), but also time and emotional capital. You may have to sacrifice some time with friends, family, or yourself to give your pet the care it needs.
Most pet owners are aware of these trade-offs and are willing to make them, but it’s always worth reiterating.
Prep Your Home Environment
Your pet may only be in their first few weeks or months of life when they arrive at your home, so make sure you set up the environment to be comfortable and welcoming in every way.
This is the ideal opportunity to clean up your space at home, declutter the living areas, and make things a bit more pleasant and safe for a young and curious creature. It’s a matter of safety and security at an instinctual level, so aim to facilitate that feeling.
With a more relaxed and organized environment, your pet will quickly adapt to the setting and become an integral part of your life.
Gear Up with the Essentials
Some first-time pet owners drastically overestimate the amount of stuff they need for their dog or cat, while others find themselves under-equipped and overwhelmed.
Ideally, you want to be somewhere in between, gearing up with the necessary items without going overboard with extras. Food, bowls, a collar, and a leash are a good place to start. A bed or crate (for young pets) will also help them sleep securely.
From there, you can pick up some treats or toys along the way to help them train, and eventually upgrade their leashes and collars to fit their size. Remember to always go for quality over quantity when buying gear, since comfort and familiarity are important when training.
Stick to a Training Regimen
Speaking of training, you don’t want to “wing it” when your pet first arrives home. Dogs require the most training since cats mostly care for themselves, so be ready with a puppy training plan from square one.
Potty training and crate training are first on the agenda, along with name recognition and basic socialization. Commands are the next step, followed by introducing a leash and harness.
From there, you can start socializing your dog with other pets in the neighborhood and at the park, so long as they are responsive to your commands.
By then, most of the hard work is complete. You can then advance their training further with more complex commands and trust going off-leash in certain areas. Remember: it never hurts to reinforce training principles, even as dogs age.
Be Ready for Expenses
When you add up food, treats, toys, grooming supplies, and other equipment, you’ll find that owning a pet can run well over $1000 a year. Veterinarian visits are by far the most expensive of the bunch, which is why more pet parents are securing insurance to keep costs down.
You never know what might happen in terms of injury or illness for your pet, so save yourself the stress and potential costs by getting a plan in place early on. Read up on Spot pet insurance reviews to see how top providers compare on prices and services.
Pet insurance allows you to budget more accurately and live without fear of a major expense out of the blue. For smart pet owners, it’s worth it.
Look for Helping Hands
You’ll want to spend as much time as possible with your pet early on, but at some point, you’ll need some help from friends and family to look after your animal friend.
Maybe it’s a work trip, a vacation, or just some time to yourself. It always helps to have a trusted network you can count on to pet sit with some advance notice. Worst case, you can employ the services of a kennel and pay a small fee.
Ready, Set, Pet
There’s a lot to be excited about when adopting a new pet, but you want to be fully prepared. This guide will get you started and set you up for success.