Preparing to Become a First-Time Pet Owner

Four Tips for Preparing to Become a First-Time Pet Owner

Getting your first pet will probably be one of the best things you ever experience. Your pet will need a lot of commitment, as they are completely dependent on you for food, shelter, entertainment and overall care. Even so, the joy your companion will bring you each day makes all of the time, effort and money of your new relationship worth it. 

As forming a bond with a companion animal is special for anyone, it can be especially beneficial for someone who is recovering from addiction as it wards off loneliness, reduces stress and improves moods. This best friend is known to engender love, trust and accountability.

It helps to be prepared for the day you bring them home. Here are a few ways to plan and prepare for your new pet.

Pick a breed

Deciding between a dog, cat or other animal and a breed that works for you is an important step of pet ownership. Whether you’re rescuing the pet or getting her from a breeder, there are many factors to consider, especially if you have family members living in the household. Some of the most essential characteristics to consider are size, age, activity level, intelligence and compatibility with children and other animals. If you live in a 600-square-foot apartment in Manhattan with your spouse and two children, a large, hyperactive dog that doesn’t like kids may not be the breed for you. 

Along with your living space, the size of your backyard is something to factor into your decision. Moreover, taking any allergies into account is paramount in choosing a pet that everyone in the household is happy with. It’s a lot to think about, but there is plenty of information to be found and there are even questionnaires that can help guide you in the right direction. 

Prepare your home

Once you’ve decided on a pet, it’s time to prepare your home for the new family member. You’ll figure out a lot of it as you go, but there are some things you can do to pet-proof your home. For instance, get anything out of the way that could be hazardous or eaten by the animal, such as electrical cords, rubber bands, paper clips, and other small objects. Get in the habit of closing toilet seats and keeping trash cans covered. Make a place for cleaners and chemicals, such as laundry supplies and dishwasher pods, as well as any human medications, since they are poisonous to pets. Also, proper storage of your pet’s medication and food is important in avoiding accidental overdose or overeating and the health problems that come with it. 

Help your new pet acclimate

Another vital step in becoming a pet-owner is helping your pet acclimate to her new home. This is especially the case if your pet is a rescue, but it applies to all pets entering a new environment. The first few days are crucial, as the pet will be unsure of everything. Your companion will watch you and your family’s every move to see how things are done around the new digs, and it’s important to show her consistency and structure. 

Decide where the pet will be throughout most of the day and try not to change it. She will likely already be stressed, so give her security and expect her to forget some of the housebreaking etiquette she may possess. A kitchen is generally a good place to have your pet for the first few days because it’s easily cleaned. Also, figure out how you want do any training because the first little bit of ownership is the best time to do it. 

Building a bond

One of the most rewarding parts of owning a pet is the bonding experience. Pets will stick with you through thick and thin. If you do all the things previously mentioned, you will be well on your way to creating a bond with your new pet. However, there are a few other things that will help. Figuring out the sweet spots to pet is a sure way to win her over for life. Also, commit time for play and exercise, letting her get all of her energy out for the day, and don’t be afraid to use firm but gentle discipline and leadership.

There’s a lot to preparing for pet-ownership. But remember, it’s well worth it. Take adequate time researching all the different breeds of the animal you’re considering and evaluate how each one would fit into your family life. Take the necessary precautions to pet-proof your home and be conscious of their need to acclimate to the new environment. Finally, follow these steps and look for other ways to bond with your pet. Bringing a new pet home is an adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Article provided by Tamara Gilmore at 

Tamara Gilmore is a business consultant. She started dog walking and dog sitting in college and has 20 years experience. She built a dog walking business that she has put on hold as she becomes more of a consultant.