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Prepare Your Home for the Perfect Pet
Getting a pet is an exciting thing. It’s fun to go through and pick exactly what you want. But there is a lot to consider before making such a huge decision.
Here are some tips and advice for first-time pet owners:
Picking the Ideal Pet
There is more to picking a pet than choosing the cutest animal. You should consider both the size of your home and your lifestyle. Dogs require space and need lots of attention, so consider if you’ll be absent often, or you don’t have a yard. Frequent walking and active playtime may compensate for space, but nothing substitutes companionship when you’re gone. If you are less inclined to being active, you may want something less hands-on.
Look at both the overall behavior of a certain animal, but then also at specific breeds. If you have allergies, visit a prospective pet before purchasing to check viability, and if not, look into animals without dander or fur.
Decide if you want to buy a pet, or if you’re willing to adopt an animal in need from a rescue center. Older and elderly pets are often overlooked for babies of your chosen species. However, they are often already trained and require less work than young animals. This is especially good for children who may not understand the amount of work that comes with having a pet.
Prep Your Home
The first step to preparing your house is to make sure it is clean. Pets will get into things they shouldn’t and will find things you thought you threw out weeks ago, so make sure you clean beneath furniture.
You should stock up on pet supplies before you purchase. You will want to be sure your pet’s crate or cage is set up and stocked, so that they can immediately move in, or have their first night of sleep ready. Make sure you have gates to cordon off areas where your pet isn’t allowed if you will let it run about the house, or a certain area of the house. If you will be sharing your pet with family, or if you’re getting a pet for a child, make sure chores are divided before you bring home the pet so everyone knows their responsibilities.
If you’ve adopted an elderly pet, it may come with issues your vet needs to monitor, such as medication. Booking immediately can ensure your new pet will be seen and taken care of quickly. If you’re getting a rescue, talk to your shelter about any favorite toys or accessories your new pet has, and make sure you take them with you when you bring your new pet home. Elderly pets need softer floors, so consider adding some rugs. A raised feeding bowl may help their back as well.
Helping Your Pet Adjust
Pets can be anxious in new environments, so it’s important to help your new pet adjust to life with you. Book with a vet in advance, as they can help with a pet’s transition. Don’t give your pet a grace period concerning rules. Establish immediately what behaviors won’t be tolerated. Pets thrive on consistency.
Limit their exposure to people and animals when they arrive. They may become over-excited, which may lead to anxiety in your new friend. This can be tricky because you’ll want to socialize your pet (if it’s that sort of animal). Mammals especially need family around them. To ensure they’re as happy as can be, spend plenty of time with them to facilitate bonding. If they’re young, ensure you hold them often to acclimate them to touch.
If you opt for a dog, it’s important to socialize slowly. Even rescues and elderly dogs may not have been socialized by previous owners, so rather than taking them directly to the dog park where they may become overwhelmed, try some one-on-one with another dog at first in a controlled environment.
A new home is a sudden change for a dog, especially one who may have had few rules to follow in their previous home life. Considering hiring an animal behaviorist who can help you -- and your dog -- overcome issues such as fear, jumping, and aggression. Vernon and Marci at Indiana Dog Whisperer are experts at helping dogs of all ages acclimate to their new environment.
A pet is a life-changing event and can make your days brighter. But, for the sake of your potential pet, research and prepare as best you can before you take the plunge.
Jessica Brody (OurBestFriends.pet)