In Animal Shelters, Pet Preparation

GUEST BLOGGER:  Jessica Brody of Our Best Friends

Congratulations on your decision to have your first pet! Adding a pet to your family can be an enjoyable and fun journey. To ensure that you get off to a good start with your new friend, you’ll need to choose the right pet and prepare to welcome them. Here is what you need to know.

 

How to Choose a Pet

To help you make this important choice, it’s critical that you are prepared for the commitment. According to this article from Cesar’s Way, the primary reasons that dogs end up in shelters are because the owners didn’t have enough time for training and care, pet didn’t fit their lifestyle, or the cost was too high to provide adequate care. If any of these things are a concern, a larger pet, such as a dog or cat, might not be for you. If you are getting a pet for a child, there are more things to consider. Watch this video from Martha Stewart on how to choose the right pet for your child.

It’s also important to think about your family’s health. If anyone suffers from allergies, but you have your hearts set on a fuzzball, you should consider a hypoallergenic pet that doesn’t shed as often as other breeds. You should also invest in an air purifier that will remove pet-related allergens from the air, and also make sure you clean regularly to stay on top of dander, saliva, and other irritants.

You also need to assess why you want a pet. Is it for companionship? Something interesting to do? A walking partner? Saving an animal’s life?  Your reason will help you determine which pet is best.

If you’re looking for companionship and to help save an animal’s life, you might want to consider adopting an older dog. According to Cesar’s Way, this type of adoption has many benefits, such as the fact that older dogs are more likely to be trained and understand commands. Plus, you’ll be saving an animal’s life.

In addition to making sure you can care for your pet’s every need, ask yourself who will care for your pet when you are not around. They will have to ensure your pet is fed, walked, and taken to the vet in emergencies. Here are five tips from Apartment Therapy for finding pet care when you’re away.

For those who choose a dog, you’ll also need to select the right breed. Closely examine your activity level and research in depth the different breeds.  Different breeds have different temperaments, behaviors, activity levels, and more.  It’s very important your lifestyle matches the traits of the breed.  Read this post from the Everything Dog Site to discover which breed is best for you.

 

Preparing to Welcome Your Pet

It’s wise to prepare your home in advance to welcome your pet, especially with the proper gear. Cats need a litter box, dogs need a leash, and all pets need to have food on hand before you bring them home. Opt for a healthy pet food with meat as the first ingredient.  Feeding your critter good-quality meals will help them maintain an optimal weight and prevent health issues, saving you money in vet visits over the long term. Here are several great options approved by Game Time Dog Services and other pet parents.

You’ll also need to safeguard your pet from dangers in your home. This includes checking for hidden dangers – fleas/ticks, broken panels in fence, and securing hazardous chemicals and items.  Get down where your eyes are on their level – what do you see that they could get in to?

Their health and age might be a consideration as well. Older dogs and cats would do better in single-level homes over those with stairs.  Some have trouble holding themselves up on slick floors.  Make sure your pet can get around easily – maybe put a carpet down in a slick area.  Make sure their food and toys are in an accessible area.

Finally, get recommendations for a trustworthy vet in your area before your pet comes home. The Animal Rescue site lists the questions you should ask the vet on your first visit.

On the day you bring your pet home, Pet Safe advises that you stay calm and collected, especially if he is a rescue pet.  Animals can pick up on your anxiety. Bring their toys and blankets with them from the shelter so they will be surrounded with familiar smells.  Choose a section of your home to introduce them to with an open crate that can be their “den”.  Sometimes having access to the full home, especially if it’s a large home, creates anxiety.  Create a space that’s their space and stock up on extra high valuable treats to ease their transition into your home.

Bringing home a new pet is an exciting life choice!  It’s so fulfilling and brings such joy to life.  Set yourself up for success by choosing the right pet for your lifestyle, be prepared for all of their needs, and enjoy the delight of having a fur-baby best friend.

 

Photo credit by Pexels

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