Welcoming a pet into the household brings with it a mix of emotions. Of course, there is excitement, but there’s also a little trepidation. A cat or dog is a lot of responsibility. In fact, pet ownership is a long-term investment.
In order to make sure that this next phase in your life is full of joy, cuddles and fun, it’s important to be prepared. Deciding on sharing your home with a puppy or kitten should be a family decision. From there, begin to make the house suitable for furry friends.
This kind of preparation ensures that your household is ready to welcome another family member. Because, at the end of the day, ensuring that both two and four-legged friends can get properly acquainted forms the foundation of a bond that will last a lifetime.
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Your new pet checklist
When it comes to welcoming an animal into the fold, preparation and patience is key. Each item on the below list should be undertaken before the pup or kitten arrives. This way, every moment can be dedicated to making your new friend as comfortable as possible.
Do your research
The first step on the checklist? Do your research. This could very well be the most important step you will undertake. By conducting some research, you will find the perfect animal type- dog or cat, guinea pig or fish- and breed for your home.
Research helps you understand the intricacies of certain breeds and their level of care. Having all the information helps make an informed and reasonable decision. The importance of which cannot be overstated, especially since owning pets is a long-term investment.
Have a family meeting
Once you’ve decided that this is the right choice, it’s important to hold a meeting. This way, parents can gauge how excited or hesitant their children are about having a puppy or kitten, guinea pig or fish.
The meeting is also a great forum to divide up responsibilities. Animals- especially puppies and kittens- thrive off the back of schedule and routine. During this conversation, you can discuss feeding schedules, sleeping arrangements and exercise routines.
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Pet-proof your home
Pet-proofing is quite similar to child-proofing. However, you do have to be more thorough when pet-proofing a dwelling. This is because animals explore with their mouths. Meaning that something as innocuous as an electrical cord can be chewed through in an instant.
Move products like food, as well as household cleaners and incidentals like thread, string, ribbon and pins, out of reach. Cover furniture with throws or slipcovers. This way, your next best friend won’t come into contact with or do any harm to your possessions.
Pet-proof your yard
Once you’re happy inside, it’s time to move outside. To pet-proof, a front lawn or back yard, check that any fences are secure and stable. Consider cordoning off precious flower beds or other landscaped areas.
It’s also important to ensure that the yard is free of toxic plants, bindis and snails. Bindis can be managed by hand or through the application of herbicides. Once herbicides have been applied, make sure the product is absorbed, then your pets can safely venture outside.
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Stock up on pet supplies (and toys!)
Before bringing the new addition home, it’s important to have already purchased the essentials and toys. This way, you won’t have to leave them in the house alone during this very important adjustment and exploration period.
Essential supplies include:
- ID tag
- Scratching post
- Litter box
- Cat litter
- Water bowl
When doing this first big shop, it’s important not to forget toys. While providing furry friends with a lot of fun, toys are also educational. For a dog, chew toys occupy them so that they won’t be tempted to chew other things such as dining table legs or sofa cushions.
Create a comfortable sleeping arrangement
To help pets adjust, it’s best not to overwhelm them. To this end, create a comfortable and safe sleeping zone. This way, they know where they can retreat to should the dwelling be too noisy or too stimulating.
When creating this safe zone, ensure that beds are comfortable and safe. A proper and supportive bed can reduce the risk of your puppy developing conditions like arthritis as it ages.
If using a kennel, make sure it’s size appropriate. The perfect kennel allows enough room for turning around and sleeping. However, the kennel shouldn’t be too big either. Otherwise, the little guy or girl may not feel secure and protected.
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Plan a visit to the vet
Once your new family member adjusts to their surroundings, their next stop should be to the vet. This way, a vet can check the pet’s overall condition, potentially catching underlying issues before they become serious problems. A vet will also check vaccination status.
If the transition hasn’t been as seamless as you hoped. Vets can also assist with tips and tricks on how to ease the transition. They will also be able to calm your fears and assure you that things like crying during the night is normal. Providing much-needed peace of mind.
Life with a new pet
Bringing home a furry friend is equal parts excitement and trepidation. However, by being prepared, practicing patience with the little guy or girl and showing love and compassion, you can take a lot of the stress out of pet ownership.
With the first few weeks being crucial to forging bonds, it’s important to be present. Providing the doggo or kitty with everything they need in order to thrive in the unfamiliar environment. This way, they feel comfortable, secure and ready to start their life with you.
Looking after an animal is one of life’s great joys. The constant and unwavering love and companionship is known to provide both physical and mental health benefits. To return the love, make sure you are prepared, right from the word go, to care for them for the rest of their lives- however long or short that may be.