5 Tips for First-Time Pet Owners

April is the ASPCA’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and to support efforts to encourage the adoption of the millions of dogs and cats in shelters across the country Jessica Brody at www.ourbestfriends.pet has some really valuable top-tips for first time pet owners.




Congratulations, you’ve added another member to your family! Before you pick out the perfect furry friend and bring him home, there are some preparations you should make to your home that will make your new pet feel comfortable. As a first-time pet owner, it can be overwhelming and stressful the first couple of months. We’re here to help. Read on to see some tips that you can follow to ensure it goes smoothly.

Picking the right breed

All pets are not alike. The type of pet you want depends on your personality and what you’re looking for in a furry friend. If you want a cat, things to consider are if you want a short-haired cat or long-haired cat, particularly if you have allergies. Now, when it comes to dogs, that’s where you really have to think about what breed you want. Are you interested in a pup that sits with you on the couch and is low energy? Or are you looking for a dog to go on hikes with that is more high-energy? Think about the size of your yard and if you have any allergies to dog hair. All of these are factors you should consider when choosing the right breed for your family.

Preparing your home

Before you bring your new cat or dog home, you have to prepare for their arrival. Make sure you set up any puppy gates, and put away anything breakable that your new pet could knock over. If you have carpet, put down puppy pads or lay out your new pet’s bedding and toys. Store any household chemicals or anything toxic out of reach so that your pet doesn’t interact with it. If you’re bringing home a puppy, remember to set up his crate and food dishes. You can even get down on your hands and knees and look around so you can see what your new pet is going to see.

Acclimating your pet

Your new pet is going to be nervous when they first step into your home. After all, they are used to their shelter or previous owner, and your new home seem foreign to them. They’re going to be timid and scared, and it will take some time for them to get used to your home. If your new pet runs and hides under a bed or couch for the first couple of days, don’t drag them out, wait until they come out on their own. It’s important to remain calm around your pet when you first bring them home. You should get your pup used to their crate, and on a feeding schedule. Try and play with them if they have the energy.

Bonding with your pet

If you have a cat, remember to pet them and show them love. Cats can be a little more independent than dogs, so don’t be put off if your cat wants to be left alone. With dogs, it’s important to shower them with love and play with them. Throw the ball for them and get them to fetch. Start training right away and teach your dog some basic commands. That’s part of the bonding process. A small tip is to remember that your dog pays more attention to what you do than what you say.

Keeping track of your dog

Amidst all the excitement of a new dog, don’t forget that your dog is as excited and nervous as you are, making it important that you equip your dog with some form of visible ID tag. The first few days are important because a pet can easily get lost in a new environment. According to statistics, 90 percent of animals without a visible ID tag are never seen again. To the same effect, 90 percent of animals with a visible ID tag are returned home. It’s what is referred to as the 90/90 rule. While microchips are common, they have some drawbacks:

  • Not all shelters scan for chips (only around 5 percent of animals are chipped)
  • Not all chips work with all scanners
  • The person who finds your pet won’t be carrying a microchip scanner

For this reason, many dog owners prefer BlanketID tags because they can easily update the pet details online as they change addresses or bring in a new foster. Each tag comes with an easy to read ID number that the individual uses to quickly access the owner’s contact information online to bring your dog home safe and sound.

Remember that your dog needs walks

Do you have a busy schedule that requires working long hours? Dogs need to be let out a few times a day, even three or four times a day if they’re a puppy. If you can’t afford to leave work to take your new pet out, you can hire a dog walker to visit your home and take your furry friend out for walks. There are many mobile apps out now that allow you to easily find someone who’s certified, local, affordable and available to walk your dog.

When you follow the above tips, you’ll be a wonderful pet owner. Just remember to show your new dog or cat some love and attention, and they’ll be happy in your new home.

Photo: Unsplash

Thanks so much to Jessica for supplying this article.