Been thinking about getting a new pet or companion? Are you prepared for it? Some of the greatest moments in our life include the day we met our pets for the first time, and the day we adopted them and they came home with us and slowly became a part of our life. Here are 7 things to consider before bringing a new dog or cat home.
- Can You Commit?
Adopting a pet is no easy feat. Think of it as going through a relationship or taking care of a baby. Will you have the time to walk your dog at least three times a day? Will you remember to exercise your cat every evening? Are you prepared to clean up their waste? Are you prepared to feed them regularly and give them a bath at least once a week? If the answer is no, and you have no one who can perform those essential tasks, you should stop right here and consider a fish or a parakeet as a low-demand animal companion.
- Will Your Pet Fit Your Lifestyle?
Choosing a pet based on how popular or cute it is, is undoubtedly one of the worst decisions soon to be pet owners make. Too often these pets are hurriedly dropped at an animal shelter when they show themselves to be too high energy, too needy, too intolerant. The list is endless.
Get to know the breed you are interested in and be open to changing your mind if it doesn’t fit your ability to provide for its temperament. Ask lots of questions from the people adopting the animal out, maybe even find a breed specific group to ask questions of some of the members. Are you a fit junkie? Or are you looking for a lap dog or just a lazy bum cat you can play with every now and then?
- Make Your Home Pet-Friendly
Did you know that something as simple as chewing gum or chocolates can be deadly for dogs? Or that ibuprofen is toxic to cats? It is with utmost importance to go through your home now and pet-friendly it, before you bring a new companion to your home. Search out hazards and get them out of the way or out of the house. Even make clear of those breakable items such as vases and urns.
- Look for the appropriate pet food
Not all pet foods are alike. Some are better than others, and some make claims that are not always backed by facts. It would be easy to just grab the pet food bag or can with the nicest design on the cover, but that is not what is going to guarantee our pets’ long term health. Choose the best food for your dog or cat and always look for a diet labeled complete and balanced. Make sure to check the labels if it is suitable for the age of your companion.
- Train Your Pet
Now this is one of the golden rules of the commandments. If you don’t want to give yourself a difficult time in cleaning up, make sure you prep up in teaching them the do’s and don’ts. If your happy home is going to remain a happy home, the housetraining will need to start immediately after bringing your pet home. If you are adopting a cute little kitten, introduce him/her to his/her litterbox as soon as possible. If it is a puppy, leash him up and take him outside to start getting to know his new home. Most puppies will be intimidated by their new surroundings, and you don’t want to put a fright into your puppy. A very short walk on the first outing is all that is needed.
- Select Appropriate Pet Treats and Toys
The right treats are mandatory, especially for puppies. Treats are one of the best medium for behavior training. Experiment with a few different dog treats and stick with the one that has the highest value for your puppy. They would be easily trained if they are given “incentives” from the right action or activity. Note that pets are smart when it comes to being rewarded with a good old treat.
- Keep a proper ID intact
Finally, ensure that your puppy or kitten is properly outfitted with an ID so that if he/she should ever get loose — and it does happen to almost everyone — you will have him/her returned safely to you. Have your contact information on your pet’s collar, either on a tag or printed directly onto the collar.
If you’re going to a vet to get a microchip done on your pet, it’s probably going to cost around $50. But if you have it done while you're having other things done, like your regular check up, then it will probably be a bit less because you’ve already paid for the office visit.
People also can check with local animal shelters or rescue groups, which often do it for less.