How To Choose And Prepare For Your First Pet
So, you have decided to get your first pet. You think you have the time, money, and space for the commitment, and you have been wanting to bring an adorable animal into your life for a long time. However, before you go rushing to the pet store or looking at adoption adverts, there are a few things you need to consider in order to guarantee a long and happy relationship with your pet.
Choosing Your Pet
Most people already know whether they are a dog, cat, or hamster kind of person. Personal preference usually comes in first when choosing a new best friend, but there are a few other factors you should keep in mind:
- Space – This is mostly an issue for dogs, as cats care more about the amount of vertical space If you have a small living space, PetMD recommends either getting a small dog or a larger dog who enjoys lounging, like a bulldog or greyhound.
- Allergies – If you or anyone in your family has allergies, you will need to look at pets with short hair and that produce less dander.
- Income – Make sure you have realistic expectations of the maintenance cost of your desired pet and breed before you buy or adopt. Larger pets are generally more expensive, and several breeds of dogs come with a host of medical complications that will rack up the vet bills.
- Time – As a general rule, cats require less time and attention than dogs, but there are differences between breeds.
Welcoming Your New Friend
Pets may have a hard time getting used to their new home, but there are a few things you can do to make the space as welcoming for them as possible. Make sure you buy all your pet accessories before picking up the animal, including plenty of toys to encourage play.
For the first few days, try to confine your new pet to a room or two of the house. Let them get used to the space while giving them the opportunity to explore. This is particularly important for cats, who are highly territorial animals and who get anxious if they are unfamiliar with their surroundings.
Give them plenty of positive attention, but do not crowd them. If you are getting a cat, it is important to remember that they do not have a biological instinct to bond. While you will come to have a great connection, it is more important to make sure they are comfortable and relaxed at this point in time.
There are a few cases which require particular considerations:
- Newborn pets – This comes with more time-consuming requirements, and your interactions at this point will most likely shape your relationship throughout the pet’s life – this is particularly the case for cats. According to American Veterinarian, kittens undergo a socialization period from two to seven weeks, during which most of their social habits are formed. If you get them used to handling now, you are more likely to have a grown cat that enjoys human contact.
- Rescue pets – Rescue pets are likely to be nervous, particularly if they have come from abusive backgrounds. If your pet appears scared, do not overwhelm them with lots of new people and environments. Keep them in their designated room, and keep all interactions calm and low-key.
- Elderly pets – Older animals make for wonderful pets, but you should understand that they will take some time to acclimatize. They will also want to sleep more than a younger animal, and won’t have as much energy. Take them to the vet as soon as possible, and get a full check-up. According to Petful, expect this visit to cost you between $150 and $400.
It is impossibly tempting to take home the first pet that looks at your with big, loving eyes. However, having a pet is a responsibility as well as a joy, and you need to make sure that you two are a perfect fit before making the decision. You will quickly be thankful for the thought and consideration you put into choosing the perfect pet and preparing your home for it.