Welcoming a new pet into your home is one of life’s greatest joys. It’s almost as memorable as bringing home your newborn for the first time.
You might have fewer fears than you did when having your first child. However, pets are living creatures that require ongoing care and attention to thrive and become the integral part of your family you want them to be. Please follow these five tips for new pet owners to help your new Fido of Fifi settle into their new home and bring you joy for years to come.
1. Find a Trustworthy Vet
Just like you had to find a pediatrician before bringing home a new baby, you have to locate a vet for your pet. Fortunately, you can use the same methods that you did when finding a baby doc. Start by asking your family and friends for recommendations but listen to your gut if something doesn’t seem right. Your subconscious mind can sometimes pick up on subtle issues that might not make your conscious awareness.
You want to have a veterinarian in mind before you bring your new pet home. Otherwise, who will you call when you notice unusual eating or sleeping habits, such as lying down in one spot, then getting up and pacing? These patterns may indicate that your pet is in pain. Please don’t let them unnecessarily suffer because you haven’t done your due diligence.
You also want to have the vet give your pet a once-over before you introduce it to any other furry or finned family members you may have. For example, kennel cough can pass from dogs to cats — you don’t want to expose any pets you already have to the sickness.
2. Stock Up on Supplies
There’s nothing worse than having your house stink to high heaven — and lacking litter to change the cat box. You likewise don’t want to let your backyard turn into a minefield of doggy doo — it poses a health risk. Please don’t think it goes away or fertilizes the soil if left to decay. Pet waste is full of bacteria like salmonella that could sicken you or your little one when working or playing in your yard.
You don’t want to let your pets go hungry, and feeding them “people-food” when you run low isn’t always the best idea. For example, chicken bones can puncture your pet’s intestines, and raw meat can contain salmonella. Some cats have a condition affecting their pH balance that requires a special diet. Eating the wrong meals can cause painful crystals to form in their urethra, leading to litter box problems and pain for your fur baby.
Finally, you need some toys to keep your new pet occupied — you can’t play with them 24/7. The right playthings discourage destructive behavior like chewing on or clawing your furniture. Cats need a minimum of a tree or scratching post, where dogs can use a bone or two to hone their teeth. Of course, you can feel free to spoil them more if you like.
3. Make a Schedule
Taking care of your pet should be a family affair. It’s hardly fair if everyone gets to enjoy playing with Fido while you get stuck with all the feeding and cleanup chores.
Make a schedule for caring for your pet. You can use this opportunity as an ongoing teachable moment for reinforcing soft skills like responsibility. If your eldest is in charge of cleaning the water bowl each day, create a chart for your fridge that they can check off when they remember without prompting. You eliminate the need to nag them about taking care of their chore while giving an instant reward for completing their to-do list.
4. Socialize, Socialize, Socialize
You might think socialization only applies to big dogs who could cause significant harm if they behave badly. However, it matters just as much for smaller pups and kitties if you want them to become the loving family members they can be.
If adopting a dog, it helps to enroll in a behavioral training class. These lessons aren’t only for your pooch. They also teach you how to train your pup using techniques proven by behavioral science.
Felines aren’t as aloof as their reputation suggests. Many of them bond with their owners — some will even walk on a leash or ride on their loved one’s shoulders. In any case, you want them not to flee in terror when people approach. Spending frequent gentle time with them teaches them to trust human beings, improving your chances of getting the loving lap cat of your dreams.
5. Keep Your Fur Baby Clean
Finally, you may need to spend considerable time grooming your new family member. It all depends on the type and breed you select.
If you adopt a beagle or a Doberman, you won’t have to spend much time grooming your dog. Your primary job will be keeping their teeth clean. Like humans, oral bacteria in your pet’s mouth can lead to other health problems.
You might select a Portuguese water dog or poodle if you have allergies — these breeds won’t make you sneeze. However, you will spend considerable time at the puppy beauty salon getting their hair cut and coiffed.
If you adopt a long-haired kitty, please get them accustomed to brushing when young. If you wait until they develop the first knot to get out the tools, you could face a battle.
New Pet Owners, Please Follow These 5 Tips
Adopting a pet is exciting — but also a huge responsibility. Please follow these five tips when bringing home a new furry family member.