Things That All First Time Pet Owners Should Know

By Sarah M 8 months ago

Their Specific Needs

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You need to do your research before you take that first step into pet ownership. Each animal has specific behavioural and environmental needs and will have completely different requirements for care. Nurturing a parrot is going to be very different to a golden retriever!

They Need to Fit Your Lifestyle

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It's no good adopting a Great Dane if you're living in a 200 square feet apartment, or a nocturnal hamster if you are easily disturbed at night. You need to consider the lifestyle you have and how your new pet will fit into it. Don't adopt a demanding creature if you are a busy bee yourself!

Find The Right Shelter

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The kindest and most rewarding place to find your new best friend is a reputable pet shelter or animal rescue organization. Here you can rest in the knowledge you are doing a truly good thing and giving a homeless animal a second chance in life and the love they deserve!

Pet-Proofing Your Home

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Our homes might be cozy havens for us, but for an inquisitive little creature, they can be full of hazards! Before bringing your new animal home, be sure to sweep your apartment from top to bottom to make it a safe and welcoming space with special areas for your pet.

Essential Supplies

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Just like bringing a new-born baby home for the first time, the arrival of a pet requires a big shop for supplies. Think specialist food, litter trays, water bowls, bedding, grooming tools and toys just to name a few! Your wallet might not be happy for it but your new pet will!

Setting Up Their Sleeping Area

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Just like us humans, our pets need a sleeping area that is separate from their eating and exercise spots. Make sure you research the perfect type and size of bed or sleeping enclosure for your specific breed. A comfortable pet will sleep better and be more responsive and loving in return.

Scheduling The Vet

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One of the first things you need to set your mind to once you have signed the adoption paperwork is booking an introductory appointment at your local vet. You will need to register, arrange the suitable tests and organize the necessary procedures and vaccinations.

Microchipping

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If the 'have you seen our cat' posters pinned to trees around your town have taught you anything, it's that our furry friends love to adventure! There is no worse feeling than realising you can't find your pet. To give you a better chance of keeping tabs on them, consider microchipping.

Organize Your Feeding Schedule

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If you are late feeding your pet, they are sure to remind you! Man's best friends love to eat, to give them energy for running around the play park or flying around the house all day. To keep your pet healthy, establish a feeding schedule of yummy, nutritious pet food.

Access to Fresh Water

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You must learn to treat your pet to the same standard you would a person. Just like us, animals require a consistent source of fresh, filtered water to keep them healthy and energized. Water aids the absorption of nutrients, promotes healthy digestion, and lubricates their joints.

They Need Exercise

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The happiest and healthiest pets are the ones getting regular exercise. Promoting fun movement as part of their daily routine will prevent obesity and promote positive mental stimulation. Plus, it will improve your overall health and wellbeing at the same time!

Time to Bond

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It can be a highly anxiety inducing experience for an animal to be adopted, especially if they have been rescued from an abusive home. It is natural for them to be a little cautious of you to begin with. Aid the transition by prioritizing gentle play and cuddle time.

Potty Training

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Just like a baby, it takes time and patience to train your pet's toilet habits. This can be an expensive part of the training process, so come prepared! If your pet uses a litter box, keep on top of regularly emptying it, this will encourage them to use it and save your carpet!

Grooming Routine

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Each pet requires a different quality of grooming. If you know you can't afford to take your pedigree pooch to the salon for a regular trim, maybe consider a more low-maintenance pet. Whatever the breed, keep on top of bathing, brushing and nail trimming.

Monitoring Their Health

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Once you have spent a few weeks with your new pet, you will start to recognise the behavioural patterns that make up their individual personality. If you notice a change in their attitude or energy, take note of it and inform your vet. It could be a sign of a health issue.

Training

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The best way to have a well-behaved pet is to implement regular and consistent training. To keep your animal invested and willing to learn, try positive reinforcement methods, just like us, they are happy to work for you if they get a treat at the end!

Pet Play-Dates

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A pet is much more likely to suffer with anxiety or outbursts of aggression if they are kept away from other animals. Keep your pet's social fears at bay by regularly allowing them to play and bond with other people and animals. A social animal is a happy animal!

Invest in Training Tools

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Before your pet has learnt what 'sit' means, where they need to pee and the importance of returning to your side after playing at the park, you will need certain tools to train them and keep them safe. Invest in comfortable, secure leashes, harnesses, crates and collars.

Patience is Key

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Training a new pet can be an exhausting and overwhelming experience, especially if they have hidden under your couch in fear ever since you brought them home. The key to good pet-parenting is patience: stay kind and loving and watch them slowly start to respond.

Preventative Care

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If you want to avoid an eye-watering vet bill, start preventative care early. Test for and treat parasites regularly, stay on top of collecting and administering prescription medications, keep an eye on their dental health and book in regular visits to the vet.

Research Potential Health Issues

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Each individual species of animal comes with a long list of common health issues. If you are mom to an adorable bulldog, you will need to listen out for reparatory problems, whereas with a rabbit you need to ensure they don't stop eating or that your bird isn't sitting on the floor of their cage.

Flee & Tick Prevention

 
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It makes me feel itchy just thinking about those creepy critters! But if you have committed to being a pet owner, you have also committed to being on constant flea-patrol! Ticks can cause your loveable pet a huge amount of discomfort and if left untreated, can make your life a nightmare!

Administering Medication

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Paying for your pet's medication is one thing, getting them to let you administer it is another challenge entirely! Your best bet is to disguise their pills as part of a tasty treat, try crumbling it into their dinner or administering via a syringe into the corner of their mouth.

Research Emergency Vet Services

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It's something we don't like to think about, but every pet owner needs to consider... there will come a time when your animal friend requires emergency care. Save yourself the extra stress in the moment by researching your local emergency vet service and keeping their number to hand.

Removing Harmful or Toxic Substances

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Many plants or substances that we love to keep around our homes are highly toxic to our pets. Household items like E-cigarettes and antifreeze are a big danger to animals. Keep daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths away from your new kitten and lilies and ivy far from your new dog.

Invest in Car Carriers

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It can be very intimidating for an animal to take a trip in your vehicle; make it as painless as possibly by investing in a comfortable and roomy pet carrier. Ideally this carrier should be large enough for them to turn around easily and stretch out.

Check Your Local Laws

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Every country will have their own rules and regulations regarding pet ownership. It is wise to read up on these before you consider adoption to make sure you are caring for your pet in line with your local laws. Many of these revolve around fouling and where they need to be on a lead.

Pet Insurance

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For all the life enhancing qualities of pet ownership, there sure are a lot of financial expenses. The last thing you need on top of the everyday costs is an unexpected veterinary bill! Prepare in advance by investing in extensive pet insurance. It will take a big weight off!

Holiday Plans

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A big thing to take into consideration before visiting your local shelter is the effect pet ownership will have on your free time. Many pets cannot be easily taken on holiday, especially if you are planning on travelling overseas or want to be spontaneous with your travelling.

Be In It for The Long Run

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You've heard it a hundred times: 'A pet is for life, not just for Christmas' and the saying is 100% true. Sharing your home with an animal is a huge commitment and one that lasts until their final moments. It will come with huge challenges and amazing times - but only take the step if you are prepared for both!