Author: Marné Amoguis
Getting your first pet is one of the most exciting times of your life. Unfortunately, when the excitement settles down, you’ll realize you’re responsible for a living, breathing animal, which can be anxiety-inducing at times. Luckily, being a pet parent is worth all of the stress you’ll feel in the next few months.
Too many new pet parents expect it to be easy because dogs are supposed to be loyal and easy to train, and cats are supposed to be calm. However, this isn’t always the case. Training a puppy takes work and dedication, and your new cat might be more active than the cat your friend has. Here’s everything you need to know about getting your first pet.
Are You Ready?
Having a pet can make you happier at home, but it’s also a big responsibility. While they can be left home while you’re at work, it doesn’t mean that being a pet parent is easy. Puppies are active, which means you need to keep them entertained all day long, or they can get bored and take it out on the couch. Not only that, but potty training takes weeks of work. There’s also a learning curve with training. Some dogs can be easily trained, but others will require short daily training sessions to quickly learn.
Before getting a pet, make sure you verify your landlord’s pet policy, especially if you’re getting a puppy. If you’re getting a dog that isn’t house-trained, then expect to be doing a lot of cleanup for at least the first few weeks. Getting a new pet can be overwhelming, so it’s important to determine whether or not you’re ready emotionally and financially. After all, trips to the vet cost money.
You’ll know you’re ready by checking your finances and considering how much free time you have available for your pet. If you’re not ready, you might not know until it’s too late, so it’s important to take everything about your lifestyle and finances into account. If you’re never home, then getting a pet is not for you. Pets need affection, attention, training, exercise, feedings, and so much more, so you need to ensure you’re able to provide them with everything they need.
Which Pet is Right for You?
While you might love dogs, getting a dog might not be right for you, depending on your lifestyle. For example, if you work long hours and won’t be able to take your dog outside a minimum of three times a day, then you’re better off getting a cat. Instead of thinking about what you want, consider what an animal under your care and protection will need. Yes, puppies are cute, but they’re also a lot of work and require more of your time than a cat that can go potty inside and doesn’t need extensive training.
There are also different breeds of dogs and cats. Learning more about a specific breed can help you determine which type of dog or cat is right for you. For example, terriers typically have more energy than bulldogs, which are known to be a little lazier. Either way, your pet is sure to help you get out of bed every morning because they need to go use the restroom.
Learning more about the breed can also tell you about any potential health problems an animal might have. For example, many different breeds of dogs have allergies. Cat and dog allergies are typically nothing to worry about, but some animals may require a prescription.
Where to Get Your First Pet
There are many places you can get a pet, including online, pet shops, and animal rescues. We won’t tell you how important it is to adopt pets from shelters because you’ve already heard it before. However, if you’re looking for an older dog who is potty trained, then a shelter is your best bet. Unfortunately, pet shelters don’t always know an animal’s history, so it’s important to spend time with your dog or cat before you decide to adopt them so you can learn about their temperament.
New pets are curious about their surroundings, so whether you get a dog, cat, bunny, rodent, or anything else you can think of, you can bet they’re going to find their way into every nook and cranny of your home. So before you bring your pet home, make sure to pet-proof everything and keep dangerous items they can choke on or chew up out of their reach.
You should also remember that puppies can be destructive, so if you truly want to protect your home, try to puppy-proof as much as possible. There are several sprays out there that can deter your puppy from chewing up clothing and furniture.
While pet-proofing is effective, the best way to make sure your animal can’t get into anything dangerous or destroy your home is to immediately start training. A well-trained pet is a happy pet. Dogs enjoy training because it’s mentally stimulating, which makes them feel happier and calmer.
Find the Right Vet
Finding a good vet for your pet is key to ensuring they stay healthy. While you can find a vet in any city or town in the United States, you shouldn’t decide on your vet just because they’re located nearby. All vets have a different bedside manner, so it’s important to find one that can help your pet feel calm during vet visits, which can make even calm dogs anxious.
In addition, you should choose your vet based on how your pet feels about them. Remember, your pet isn’t going to like every vet they meet, but if they take a liking to a vet, then you’re better off working with that vet, especially if your animal has behavior issues such as reactivity.
Final Thoughts for First-time Pet Parents
There are going to be days your pet drives you crazy, just like a human child would, but raising a dog or cat is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life. Remember, this animal completely relies on you for its entire life. If you’re not ready to take on a big responsibility for many years, then getting a pet isn’t for you. However, if being a pet parent is for you, then no amount of stress will stop you from being the best pet parent you can be.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.