By Kimberly Hayes | www.publichealthalert.info
It seems that everyone that has a pet just knows what they’re doing. It looks easy — you simply give them food, water, toys, and affection. While it’s true that pet ownership is fun and rewarding, it’s certainly not easy (at least, not at first). If you’re about to bring home your first pet, here are some things you really need to know.
Make Sure You and Your New Pet Are a Match
It’s easy to love almost any new pet, but a good animal-owner relationship must be built on more than that. Your new pet needs to mesh well with your lifestyle, living situation, and schedule — a pet that sheds and is not hypoallergenic is not a good fit for someone with allergies, for example. A high-energy dog is not a good pet for someone with a small yard and little time to exercise them. Do you have children? That’s a major consideration as well. To figure out what pet is right for you, ask yourself some of these questions. You can also try a breed selector to help you narrow the field.
You’ll Want to Pet-Proof Your House in Advance
Don’t wait until your furry friend has an accident to begin the pet-proofing process. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure your new pet is protected from dangers in the home and your home is protected from the danger that is a new pet.
Here are a few things to do, for starters:
- Lock up cabinets with childproof locks to prevent pets from getting into harmful substances. Put those harmful substances out of reach for extra security.
- Corral loose cords, as they can pose a choking hazard.
- Keep toilet lids closed, as smaller pets can drown.
- Get rid of any houseplants that may be poisonous. There are more than you think.
- Get supplies for cleaning pet stains and odors. For new odors on carpets, try a chemical-free pet odor powder or spray. For set-in stains and odors, consider a steam cleaner. Avoid vinegar-based cleaning solutions as they usually promote more urination.
Also, don’t forget about your garden! Pet-proofing your garden involves being careful about what types of fertilizers you use, buying easy-to-clean patio and yard furniture, and giving your dog a designated place to dig (away from the plants).
It Will Take Time Before They Are Acclimated
Some people bring home a pet for the first time and instantly form a connection. The pet immediately trusts both owner and its new surroundings. Unfortunately, this situation is rare. For the majority of new pet owners, work must be done to ensure they acclimate to their new home.
The best thing you can do right away is to limit their range of movement. Keep them in a fairly confined area (perhaps just the living room). Not only will this help prevent accidents (easier housebreaking), but it will also make them feel more at ease. This is especially important for rescue pets that may be skittish or nervous.
You’ll Need to Work to Bond
Bonds between pet and owner aren’t tough to nurture, but they do need nurturing. If you want your new pal to quickly become your BFF, be sure to do the things that ensure you form a strong connection. You can do this through a combination of affection, discipline, and exercise. Teaching your new dog commands and good behavior, for example, is the best way to build a bond. You must also play with your pets and have fun with them. Simply being around them a lot will help too. Cats can be a little trickier at times, but through play, physical touch, and association with feeding, you can make some headway.
Pets are generally loving, trusting, and relatively simple to understand and care for — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to bring one home for the first time. It’s perfectly okay to feel a little overwhelmed at times, but remember this: pets respond to love, structure, and calm vibes. You project those and you’ll be well on your way.
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