A Beginner’s Guide to Caring for Your First Pet
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Adopting your first pet can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity for first-time pet owners. However, caring for a pet is a responsibility that requires consistent maintenance, such as updating your pet’s vaccinations and grooming and playing with your pet. It’s also important to consider the size of your home, pet allergies that you or a loved one may have, and how your pet will acclimate to their new home. Below are some tips and advice on how to care for your first pet.

Determine the Kind of Pet that’s Right for You

Different kinds of pets require different levels of attention, so it’s important to consider how much time you’re willing to spend caring for your pet. For example, fish require very little maintenance aside from daily feedings, but dogs require consistent outdoor walks and playtime. If you work long hours or travel frequently, you may also have to think about hiring a pet-sitter or asking a neighbor to watch them. Different kinds of pets also require different kinds of spaces in a home. Dogs and cats, for instance, typically require a large amount of space to move and play around in. Pets like hamsters, rabbits and lizards typically spend the majority of their time in cages.

 

Aside from the size of the interior of your home, consider the size of your backyard as well. Dogs require ample room to run around, and having a large backyard will help to make your dog happy. Allergies are also another vital aspect to consider before adopting a pet. Talk to your doctor about the severity of your pet allergies, as some allergies are mild enough to be treated with medication. You can also help keep allergies under control by consistently cleaning your home, so make sure you have the right equipment, especially if your new companion is a furry one. Bagged vacuums, in particular, are often recommended for allergy sufferers and pet owners because they suck up pet-related irritants and other allergens and trap them inside sealed bags. You can also keep pets away from loved ones with mild allergies by placing the pets in a separate room, like a spare bedroom.

Preparing your Home for a New Pet

Before adopting a pet, it’s important to prepare your home. Below are some suggestions on how to do this:

 

  • Keep hazardous items, like cleaning products, in locked cabinets or in other safe places, as certain pets, like cats, can open cupboards.
  • Keep human food and medication away from pets.
  • Look out for hazards that may cause electrocution or choking, especially cords and small toys.
  • Lower the toilet lid after each use, as some pets may want to jump in the toilet. This may not only pose a drowning threat, but also a poisonous threat if you frequently use toilet bowl cleaners.
  • Keep windows closed or use window screens to prevent cats and dogs from jumping out, especially from a second- or third-story level.
  • Make enough space for the pet. This includes a designated area for food, water, toys, cages, and a litter box, if needed.

Acclimating Your Pet to Their New Home

Some pets may be scared when entering a new home for the first time. Fortunately, there are some ways to make the moving process easier for your new pet:

 

  • Start off by introducing your pet to one room at a time (especially for cats and dogs) while keeping food and water nearby.
  • Reassure your pet by speaking to them in a soft and loving tone of voice.
  • Pets sense when their owners are calm or chaotic. If you’re calm, chances are, your pet will behave calmly as well.
  • Set aside extra time to play with and care for your pet during the stressful move-in period.
  • For rescue pets that may be fearful at first, consider house-training them and rewarding/praising them for good behavior.

How to Bond With Your New Pet

After your pet has adjusted to its new home, it’s important to consistently play with and care for your pet to show it love and attention. Here are a few ways you can easily bond with your new pet:

  • Spend one-on-one time with your pet by petting them, taking them out of their cage, or taking them for a walk around the backyard.
  • Show your pet extra attention by getting the whole family involved. Have everyone take turns playing with and feeding your pet.
  • Be firm but gentle when disciplining your new pet. They will be prone to accidents and mistakes, and it’s important to lovingly guide, rather than scold, them.

Even though adopting a pet is a big responsibility, it also provides many rewards for all kinds of families. It’s important to consider the above tips and advice before adopting a new pet, as different pets require different levels of care, maintenance and support.

Article Credit: Jessica Brody