Important Advice All First-Time Pet Owners Should Know

Posted on Wednesday 20th June 2018 @ 2:38 PM

Article Courtesy of Jessica Brody


People who grew up with pets may see pet care as simple and unintimidating. However, for someone who has never owned a pet, there is a lot to learn. Thinking of joining the 85 millionU.S. families that own a pet? Do some simple planning and preparations first to make your adoption go as smooth as possible. Just remember, you can't prepare for everything! You'll find that pet ownership is an adventure that’s full of new challenges and rewarding accomplishments.


Learn How Pets Can Help You Cope


Pets have provided companionship to humans for thousands of years. The more we learn about the bond between humans and animals, the clearer it becomes that pet companionship greatly benefits their owners. This is particularly true for people in addiction recovery. Companion animals help people cope with stresses and negative emotions associated with addiction. In fact, most people see their pets as part of their social networks and consider them just as important as other family members in their coping process. Since they're always around, dogs provide continuous, unconditional support. They help banish loneliness, anxiety, sadness and feelings of guilt. Plus, pets that need constant care and attention force people into a structured routine. They also help people practice responsibility and accountability.


Find Out if You’re Ready for a Pet


Getting a pet on a whim is one mistake that a lot of people make. Instead, carefully consider the time and resources that pet ownership requires and confirm that you can provide this. Make sure you're prepared to pay for veterinarian care, toys, food and other supplies. You'll also need enough spare time to play with and train your pet, especially when you first bring them home. Remember, a dog or cat is a long-term commitment and will stay with you for over 10 years.


Do Some Research on Pet Types and Breeds


If you're nervous about a long-term commitment, or you lack proper space and time, you may prefer a hamster, fish, or mouse. If you're set on a dog, make sure you pick the right breed. You’ll have to consider their size, activity level, intelligence, coat length and shedding, and their personality. For example, you may be allergic to certain fur varieties or dogs with long hair. Also, your dog’s activity level must match your own activity level as well as the amount of yard space you have. If you have kids, look for dogs with family-oriented natures.


Make Sure Your Home is Ready to Handle a Pet


For small animals, readying your home may just require setting up a cage. For pets that roam your house freely, such as dogs and cats, you'll have to do some extra work. This Old Houserecommends that you get down on all fours and explore your house. This will let you look for choking, suffocation and electrocution hazards. Make sure pets can't get on countertops or into trashcans. You may even have to latch your cupboards shut if you're getting a cat. More importantly, create a safe, comfortable space for your pet.


Know How to Introduce Your Pet to Your Home and Family


When pets come home for the first time, they can either be excited to meet everyone and explore, or shy and overwhelmed. Take note of how your pet is acting and give them as much space as they need. Rescue dogs can be particularly nervous. You may not want to give your new pet free reign of the house just yet or they may find sneaky places to hide. If you have small children, make it clear to them that the pet is not a toy and teach them how to be gentle.


The most important thing to remember about getting a pet is that you must commit to your animal and accept responsibility for their actions. You're responsible for teaching them good behavior and training them to act appropriately around other people. Plus, being consistent in your training will help your pet develop a solid bond of trust and respect that will last their entire life.


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