Pet ownership is a big responsibility, but it can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. It’s important, then, to make sure you are well educated when it comes to the different animal breeds out there, what their needs are, and how you can safely accommodate them. Do some research into your preferred breed to make sure you’ll be able to keep them healthy and happy before making any big decision.
Many people prefer to adopt a rescue animal and give it a nice place to live, while others enjoy fostering an animal until they can find their forever home. Whichever you choose, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared.
Here are a few of the best tips on how to find the right pet for you, and how to take care of it.
Think about your surroundings
If you live in an apartment that has pet restrictions, you’ll need to check with the owners to make sure you can have certain breeds and what size the pet needs to be. It’s also important to take into consideration how big an area you’ll have to let your animal stretch its legs--for dogs, you’ll need a little bit of lawn; for cats, perhaps just a cozy area to curl up in and a large scratching post--and whether you or any of your family members have allergies that might be agitated by the pet.
Look at your daily schedule
Do you work long hours? Is it difficult for you to get home during your lunch hour to let a dog out? If so, that’s a big consideration. It’s a form of cruelty to leave a dog inside or in a pen for several hours at a time with no bathroom breaks, so if you can’t get away to let him out during the day, consider hiring someone to come and do it for you. If that’s not in your budget, it might be easier on everyone to find a different pet. Cats are very self-sufficient and most don’t mind being home alone for long stretches.
Consider your family
Getting a new pet is a big decision, so it’s important to consult your family beforehand. If you or someone else in your household has recently had a baby, it might not be the best time to introduce a new animal to the situation; not only might it bring chaos to an already chaotic time, the animal might not have experience being around children and may not be compatible.
Help him settle in
Once you’ve decided on a pet and are ready to bring him home, make sure you have all the right tools ready, including food, bowls, a leash/harness, toys, puppy pads, any necessary bathroom items, and a bed. You’ll also need to be prepared to try and help him stay on a routine similar to the one he had before, so ask his vet or the caregivers at the shelter about his schedule. This can prevent anxiety and help him get used to being in a new environment.
You might also want to invest in a crate, especially for dogs. This gives them a space that is entirely their own and can be filled with soft blankets to help them nest a bit. It’s not advisable to leave the animal inside for many hours at a time, but crates are very useful for training purposes and can help a dog feel comforted in a new place.
It’s important to make sure you set aside plenty of time to play with your animal and show him some affection. If you have a busy schedule, consider setting your alarm for fifteen minutes earlier than usual and get in some snuggle time, or take your pet outside for a few minutes to play catch or explore.
Animals can be a joy, and many studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can actually reduce stress, anxiety, and the symptoms of depression as well as lower blood pressure. If you start with a good plan and make sure you’re prepared, pet ownership might be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Author: Jessica Brody