Written by Jessica Brody
So many of us grew up in households where we were never allowed to have pets — not a cat, not a dog, not even a harmless little goldfish. However, just because you never had a pet growing up doesn’t mean you can’t have one now. In fact, you may find that now that you’re independent, you finally have the resources to take care of a furry friend of your own. If you’re looking to make the leap into pet ownership, but you’re nervous because you’ve never had one before, fear not! First-time pet ownership is a crazy experience, and there’s bound to be some mistakes made every once in a while. But in the end, it’s much more rewarding than anything else. If you want to make the process easier and minimize the amount of slip-ups that can occur, use the following tips to prepare yourself and your home for the joys of having a pet.
Picking the Right Pet
If you have an idea regarding what kind of pet you want, that’s a great start. However, you should really consider if what you want is compatible with your current lifestyle as well as the lifestyle you see for yourself in the future. For instance, if you’re a workaholic who doesn’t want to leave the couch as soon as you get home, a large dog is not the choice for you. Dogs need to be walked regularly and let outside every four hours or so to use the restroom. If you’re not around enough to see to its needs, your pup will likely act out in a destructive manner.
When determining the kind of pet that’s right for you, ask yourself:
- How large is your home?
- Do you have a yard? Is it fenced?
- Do you have any allergies?
- How averse are you to shedding?
- Do you want to invest time in potty training?
- Are you active and want a pet to join you when running/hiking/biking/etc?
- How much money can you invest in pet care?
- Do you travel a lot?
Once you’ve answered these questions, take this information and meet with a pet adoption specialist at your local shelter. Using your answers, an adoption expert can match you to a pet who will fit right in with your home and lifestyle. Beyond the helpfulness of adoption experts, finding a pet through a shelter has so many benefits. For one, it’s way more cost-efficient than buying a purebred. Not only are adoption fees minimal, but most pets come fully vaccinated and reproductively fixed, so you don’t have to worry about that. Furthermore, it’s a moral choice; you’re saving a life and choosing not to support puppy/kitten mills. Finally, animals adopted through shelters bond to the owners quickly and appreciate the home and love you provide.
Preparing Your Home for Your New Pet
Having all your supplies in place before you bring your dog or cat home gives you the time and freedom to focus on bonding with your new best friend. When picking out supplies and accessories, look for things that are conducive to your lifestyle. For instance, if you sometimes go hours without coming home, an automatic feeder and an electronic dog door can take care of your pup’s basic needs when you’re not there. An automatic feeder can be programmed to release food on schedule so your dog sticks to their eating routine. And an electronic dog door allows them out into the yard to do their business without sacrificing home security. Just remember to check out reviews to ensure you’re getting the right one for your dog and home.
One of the best ways to improve your pet adoption process is by going through a shelter. Animal shelters have adoption specialists that will work with you to find the perfect best friend for your home. Once you’re on track to adopt, outfit your home with everything your new pet will need. Don’t hesitate to spend more on items that will make your life easier — things like automatic feeders, electronic dog doors, and self-cleaning litter boxes.