6 Ways to Be a Great First-Time Pet Owner

Getting your first pet can feel a bit like becoming a parent for the first time. In many ways, it’s not so different. You are preparing for a new responsibility in your life, so it’s completely natural — and even responsible — to feel a bit nervous. Luckily, bringing a pet home is also a far simpler process than having a baby. As long as you keep the following tips in mind (presented below by Powell Veterinary Service), you will be on your way to being an excellent owner and friend to your new pet.

Choose Carefully

Responsible pet ownership starts long before you lay eyes on your future friend. Perhaps the most important step is to take the time to consider which animal you will be best suited to take care of. You may want a big dog you can explore the outdoors with but live in a small apartment, or perhaps you travel a great deal and can’t take your pet with you. Sometimes a different breed or even species is better than your initial leanings.

Consider how much time, money, and space you have to dedicate to your pet, and then choose accordingly. CBC suggests asking yourself what you want from your pet, thinking through what your proposed pet’s needs are, and really considering what sort of interactions you expect. The perfect pet is out there, it’s just a matter of making the right decision.

Do Your Research

Once you have settled on an animal or breed, start doing your research into the care it will require. Look into things like behavioral traits, training requirements, and common medical complications. Pay special attention to dietary needs as well. For example, if you adopt a cat with a sensitive stomach, look for foods with highly digestible ingredients. The more you know about your future pet, the better prepared you are to be a great pet owner. For dogs, the American Kennel Club has an extensive database of dog breeds and their key traits, while this helpful guide by AnimalWised discusses the features of purebred and mixed breed cats. 

Adopt If Possible

Adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue has many benefits. For one, you can save a considerable amount of money on training, spaying, neutering, vaccines, and tracking since many rescued pets have already received these investments from previous owners or from the organization advocating for them. The adoption fees are also likely to be lower than buying from a breeder. Finally, you will be helping an animal in need and refusing to contribute to an industry that is very often unethical.

Be Prepared

Making a soft spot for your new friend to land is your next big step. First, you need to buy all the necessary supplies, such as health products, a bed, food bowls, leashes, grooming tools, a crate, food, and treats. And if you don’t already have one, you may need to put up a fence around your yard to help protect your new pet from outside threats and keep them from running away. Make sure you consult with a surveyor first to make sure you’re without the bounds of your property, then simply search a site like Angi for a fencing company.

Find Help

With your home properly prepared, it’s time to make sure you have a support system in place. Depending on your selected pet and lifestyle, you might need the services of professionals like a groomer, pet sitter, and trainer. Regardless of your choice, you need to connect with a vet like Powell Veterinary Service. Schedule your first appointment as soon as possible after adopting your critter, and make a list of questions you want to ask. 

Put Yourself in Their Paws

Imagine how confusing and potentially scary it can be for an animal to be brought to an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people. Understanding your pet’s perspective is key to making them comfortable during those first few days. Consider controlling their exposure to the house to avoid overwhelming them, and above all, never force interactions the animal does not seem to want. 

Being a good pet owner is all about recognizing that a pet is a living, breathing being with needs, fears, and a personality. The relationship you will build with your new pet is likely to be one of the most loving and meaningful in your life, but it’s a two-way street. The more thought, time, and effort you invest in making your pet happy, the more joy they will provide you in return. As long as you are patient, loving, and considerate, you can’t go wrong.