If you’ve never owned a pet before but are thinking about making the leap, you don’t want to go into it blindly. The type of pet, breed or mix, preparing your home, and making a smooth transition are all considerations you don’t want to overlook. Doing some research and thinking these things through will help make it a positive experience for everyone.
Choosing Your Pet Wisely
If you’re considering bringing home a four-legged, furry friend, the first decision is whether to adopt a dog or cat. Both need your time and care, but in general, cats are much more self-sufficient than dogs. If you decide on a dog, research different breeds and their typical characteristics to determine which one best suits your lifestyle. Many people who adopt from a shelter worry about knowing the personality of a mixed-breed, but according to The Humane Society, you can usually tell a little about a shelter dog’s parentage to make a good guess about their characteristics. Shelter workers can also give you a good idea of the dog’s personality. These are a few things to think about when choosing a breed or mixed-breed:
- Size – A dog’s size affects their needs and how they will fit into your home. Big dogs need more exercise, so a big dog is ideal for a family that has enough time for walks, a fenced yard, and plenty of space. All dogs need exercise, but some smaller dogs have lower energy levels, so they would be ideal for smaller homes and families that want a dog to cuddle. Keep in mind that small dogs are also more vulnerable and can be very sensitive to cold weather.
- Age – Puppies need LOTS of time and attention. You will need to be diligent with housetraining and managing a puppy’s tendency to chew. An adult dog may not require as much training, but he will still have the same exercise needs. Senior dogs tend to have less energy and can be wonderful companions, but they may have more medical needs.
- Other Considerations – Think about your family’s specific needs to make sure the pet is a good match. If you have allergies, you may need to choose a breed that doesn’t shed. If you have kids, you obviously
want a pet that is child-friendly.
Preparing to Welcome Your Pet Home
You want to make sure your home and family are ready to welcome a new pet before the big day arrives. Go ahead and buy all the supplies you’ll need, including food and water bowls, food, treats, toys, and a pet bed. If you’re getting a large dog, be sure to research the best dog bed for your new pup. Designate a special spot for your dog’s bed or crate so they will know right away they have a place of their own. And don’t forget to puppy-proof your home so that your new pet can’t get into anything dangerous.
Helping Your New Pet Adjust and Bond
Bringing home your pet is a big change for everyone, so give your pet plenty of time and freedom to explore their new surroundings. Keep a calm atmosphere and don’t overwhelm them by having lots of people over right away. Puppy Leaks recommends asking the shelter or former owner what kind of food they’ve been using, and stick with that same food at first. Switching food can cause tummy trouble, and anxiety about moving to a new space could make that worse. Some pets may feel at home right away, while others, especially rescue pets, may need extra time and attention over the first few weeks to warm up and bond with you. Giving them plenty of affection, playing, and going for walks will help form that bond.
Choosing the right pet from the start is the key to a successful transition. When dogs show behavior problems like barking and chewing, it’s usually because they just aren’t getting enough exercise. These problems can be avoided when your lifestyle matches your pet’s needs. Following this rule is the best way to ensure everyone makes a smooth transition and your new pet becomes a happy member of the family.
Author: Jessica Brody
Photo credit: Pexels