So, You’re a First-Time Pet Parent?

By Jessica Brody

Many people who didn’t grow up with pets, dream of the day when they can move out on their own and get one. These animals -- a dog, a cat, a bird or two -- aren’t just fun to have around, they can also reduce stress and anxiety and keep loneliness at bay, especially for seniors or those with health issues. Yet having a pet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for some individuals, who realize very quickly that it’s hard work. Taking on the responsibility of owning a pet can be a big job, and it can get expensive, so it’s very important to do some planning beforehand to make sure you can handle it.

It’s also important to choose the right type and breed of pet for you. If you have a small backyard, a large dog might not be the best fit for you. Also, you’ll want to check with your landlord if you’re a renter to find out about the rules and regulations regarding pets. No one wants to fall in love with a dog at the shelter only to find out they can’t bring him home.

With a little research and a solid plan, you’ll be able to find the right pet for you. Here’s how to get started.

Find the right breed

No matter what type of pet you want, it’s imperative to do some research to find out which breed is best for your lifestyle and home. Large animals need space to move around and play; long-haired ones may upset your allergies or become a nuisance when it comes to shedding. If you have small children, you may want to find out about which breeds work best with kids. Do some research online and answer some questions before you make a decision.

Prepare your home

Making sure your home is just right for your new pet is important, so take the time to invest in all the things he needs before you bring him home; that way, everything will be ready for him. Food and water dishes, bedding, toys, a crate, a leash or stroller and bathroom necessities are the most important and then start thinking about how to pet-proof your home. Puppies and kittens, especially, need a bit more planning than older animals simply because they tend to be curious about items that look like playthings but could actually be dangerous, such as exposed wires or toxic plants. Go through each room of your home to make sure it’s ready for your pet.

The biggest issues you’ll face with a new pet are hair, fur, and dander. However, you can nip this problem in the bud with a study, high-quality vacuum. Of course, there are dozens of different models and brands available -- some are great on hardwood floors, while others will help eliminate allergens -- so check out reviews and best-of lists to see which model suits you.

Help him acclimate

Pets can take a while to get adjusted to their new home, especially if they spent time in a shelter or were with a family that didn’t care for them properly. Allow your new pet to take his time getting used to new people by introducing him to only immediate family at first, then gradually allowing others to come around. Make his transition easier by allowing him to sleep where he’s comfortable--whether that’s in a dog bed or in a crate --and giving him lots of love and attention. For more tips on how to help your new pet acclimate to your home, read on here.

Taking on the responsibility of a new pet can be daunting, especially if you have many other things going on in your life, such as kids or a busy schedule at work. However, with a good plan and the right attitude, you can find the best pet for you and your family and enjoy his company for years to come.

Photo via Pixabay by Okeanas

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