Becoming a Great First-Time Pet Owner

Pet ownership is a huge responsibility, especially for a first-time pet owner.  Like having children, it’s not all fun and games but is extremely rewarding and life-enhancing. 

Young Boy with Puppy

Prepare Your Home

Your home is about to have a new family member and you should make sure it is ready.  Think about things that your new pet might be able to knock down or chew on, and move those items to higher ground or to a room where your pet will not be.  Look around for places your pet might hide or get stuck and fix those areas before your pet arrives.

Check your kitchen for foods that are dangerous for your pet, along with household chemicals or cleaners, and be sure to lock them up or put child safety locks on cabinets.  It is better to assume that your pet will try to eat anything within reach and to keep those things safely put away.

Inspect the outside of your home and neighborhood for dangers to your new pet.  Check your yard and surrounding areas for poisonous plants and holes or gaps in fences.  Also, note any stray or off-leash animals that roam in your area.  Being aware of dangers can help you keep your pet safe. 

Acquire all the grooming and feeding necessities for your pet before they arrive.  Make sure you have a collar, leash, food, feeding bowls, toys, grooming tools, bedding, and anything else you may need for your specific pet.  You’ll be glad you have all the things you need to care for your pet ahead of time instead of having to run out later.

Bringing Home Your New Family Member

Now that you’ve made a new addition to your family, it’s time to let your pet check out their new home.  Bring them inside and let them roam the rooms to take in all of the new sights and smells.  It will be different for them, but they will adapt well with patience and consistency on your behalf.

Introduce your new pet to a few different sleep locations by having a pet bed, cushion, blankets, or a pet crate set up in a couple of rooms.  Some pets like to set up camp in different spots over the course of the day depending on where family members are or when they want to vary their temperature.

Remember to schedule time every day to spend with your pet.  Playing with them, grooming them, and giving them exercise will keep your pet happy and content with their new home and with you. 

When you have to leave the house, be sure to leave your pet food, water, and toys to play with and chew on.  Giving them something to occupy their time will cut back on destructive behavior and anxiety.  If you will be gone an extended amount of time, hire a pet-sitter or daycare to watch your pet until you return.  They will be well-cared for and happy to see you when you return. 

Keep Your Pet’s Health a Priority

Your new pet’s health should be a priority.  Find a good veterinarian and schedule regular appointments to ensure your pet’s good health.  Your vet can keep up with vaccinations, medications, food recommendations, and any other issues you might have with your pet. 

As your pet ages, you may need to change the way they eat and how they move about the house.  Failing eyesight, arthritis, joint problems, or other issues could affect your pet and make climbing stairs or other simple things more difficult.  Keep consulting with your vet on ways to improve your pet’s quality of life.

Keeping these things in mind, with patience and time, you and your new pet are destined to be best friends.  Your pet will reward you with loyalty and love for being a great pet owner.