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4 Tips for First-Time Pet Owners


Congratulations, you’re thinking of adopting a pet! While you may be excited and a little overwhelmed, it’s important to prepare during this time. Before you decide on a new furry friend, think carefully about your future and the next 10 or 15 years. It’s important to consider the type of animal that fits with your lifestyle. Once you finally do adopt, it’s important to spend time with your new pet and make them feel comfortable in your new home. And to give you a leg up, we’ve got four tips for you as you navigate this new chapter in your life.


Pick the right breed


If you’re a cat person, you don’t necessarily have to worry about what type of breed of cat you want to bring home. The only thing to keep in mind with cats is if you have allergies. If you do, we recommend getting a short-haired cat that doesn’t shed as much. Deciding what type of dog to adopt is where it gets trickier. With so many breeds out there, how do you know what dog will fit with your lifestyle? Start off by answering some basic questions: How big is your home and what size yard do you have? Do you have allergies? If you have a ton of space and a big yard for a dog to run around, you can opt for getting a larger dog that has more energy, like a German Shepherd. If you live in an apartment with no yard, consider a breed that is smaller and lower energy, like a bulldog.


Prepare your home


When adding a new furry friend to your family, it’s important to prepare your home before their arrival. Put out anything you’ve bought for them, like their food and drinking bowls, any crates, puppy pads, litter boxes, toys, scratching posts, or beds. Help them feel like your home is their home. Remember to put away anything that could be toxic to your dog or cat, such as chemicals or food. If there are any wires in your home, make sure you tape them along your baseboard and out of reach so that your new pet doesn’t start chewing and risk injury. If there are any small holes where your pet could hide, block them off. And if you want to make sure you have all your bases covered, get on your hands and knees so that you can get a good perspective of what your pet will see.


Acclimate your new pet to your home


Give your new pet time to get used to her new home. It may take days or weeks for your cat or dog to feel comfortable, and that’s okay, don’t force them out if they run under a bed or behind a couch the first time you bring them home. Be patient and let them come to you. If you’ve adopted your pet from a shelter, this is extremely important, because you don’t know their living conditions before you came into their life. Your pet could have anxiety, so it’s important to tread carefully the first few weeks they’re home.


If you live a busy life and don’t have a lot of time to run home during the day to let your dog out, hire a dog walker to help her get her daily dose exercise and become familiar your neighborhood. Not only does this help your dog get the wiggles out, but it helps them learn to spend time with people other than you.


Bond with your new pet


This is the best part of becoming a first-time pet owner, and bonding with your new cat or dog is extremely important. It’s crucial to make time for them, because that’s how they recognize you as their owner. Bonding doesn’t just mean petting and sitting on the couch. If you have a new dog, it’s important to start training her right away. This is part of the bonding process and will help her feel closer to you. Also, take your dog outside for exercise as often as you can. Throw around a frisbee or ball and see if she fetches. Forming these bonds early on will help solidify your relationship and help the love between you and your new pet grow.


Bringing home a pet is a big responsibility, but one that’s worth all the effort. It sets the stage for a great friendship that will bring you both happiness for years to come. Take it slow and be patient with your new pet, and be sure to follow the above tips to ensure she stays as relaxed as possible. It won’t be long before it feels like she’s always been a part of the family.