A Little Love for First-time Pet Owners…Just In Time for Valentine’s Day
A First-Time Pet Owner’s Guide to Housing a Pet
By Jessica Brody, Guest Blogger to TLC Pet Care Co.
Adopting a pet for the first time is a rewarding opportunity for you and your family. You can create a life-long bond with a pet, as well as new and exciting memories. However, such rewards and benefits also come with a host of responsibilities. Caring for your pet includes veterinary visits, daily feedings, and grooming maintenance, among other aspects. Fortunately, it’s easy to care for your first pet by following the basic steps below.
Choosing the Right Breed
Before adopting a pet, it’s important to consider exactly which type of pet you’re going to get. From cats and dogs to hamsters and birds, you have a wide variety of options to choose from. Consider the following when choosing your first pet:
- House size
- Family size
- Your personality and the personality of those around you
- Indoor and outdoor space
- Time for playing and veterinary visits
It’s also important to consider how your pet will acclimate to a home when you’re not away. For example, if your pet is a dog, consider asking a neighbor or a friend to feed your dog and take him/her out for walks. Fish, on the other hand, are relatively low-maintenance pets to care for when you’re away for a short period of time.
Bonding with your Pet
Bonding with your pet is an easy and fun way to make a new best friend. This can be done in a variety of ways, including:
- Establishing trust through cuddling and petting
- Learning how to “read” your pet, including when he/she is hungry or sick
- Learning how to discipline your pet without yelling or scolding
- Playing with your pet
Bonding time also allows your pet to become more open and playful around you, family members and the household.
Acclimating a Pet to Their New Home
Acclimating a pet to their new home is important for your pet to feel safe and secure, especially with regard to a rescue animal. It’s important to start small when introducing a pet to a new home; this can be done by exposing them to one room at a time on a weekly basis before slowly introducing them to other parts of the home. It’s also important to keep any food, water, toys, and litter areas nearby for easy access. If your pet is a dog, show him/her the outside area as often as possible so they know where to use the bathroom.
As important as it is to acclimate your new pet to your home, you’ll also need to make a few modifications to prepare your home for a new pet. Start by deciding which areas of your home your pet will have access to and ensuring those spaces are pet-proofed. You should also be prepared to clean up after your pet. Depending on the pet’s age and training, it may be a good idea to remove rugs or place puppy pads over carpeted areas. Accidents are bound to happen, so you’ll still need to know how to remove pet stains and odors. It’s also a good idea to have a high-quality vacuum to suck up hair and dander, especially on carpeting.
Pets and Their Benefits
When you bring a pet into your warm, loving home, the animal is not the only one whose life is better. Pets provide a host of benefits to their owners as well. Some of these include:
- Healthy stimulation of the brain and the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone that equates to lower blood pressure
- Increased relaxation due to lower blood pressure and anxiety
- Decrease in stress levels
- Increase in exercise and healthy-behavior habits due to associated exercise with walking dogs or playing with cats
Pets provide a wide variety of benefits for you and your family, including companionship, increased exercise benefits, and a decrease in stress levels. Though pets come with many responsibilities in terms of care and maintenance, the rewards are typically worth it, as pets provide a close friendship for years to come. Follow the above steps, and ask your vet any questions you have about caring for your first pet in the best way possible.