Bringing a new pet into the home can be a special time for you and the family. But with all new things, if you aren’t prepared for the changes to your routine and the responsibility incurred, it can turn into a stressful time for both you and your pet.
It takes a lot of hard work to care for a pet as there will be both fun times and frustrating times. Bringing a new pet into the home can be nerve-wracking, but if you know a few things, it can be a smooth transition into pet ownership. So, what do you need to know?
Educate Yourself on the Breed
While you might not think educating yourself on the breed you’re about to bring into the home is necessary, think again. Let’s say you wanted a family pet and your daughter saw an adorable Australian Shepherd walking through your neighborhood. Both you and your daughter were in love with the beautiful colors and spunky personality, so you decided to get an Aussie for your family.
But what you didn’t know about Australian Shepherds is that they are incredibly high energy and need to spend a lot of time exercising. Australian Shepherds come from a line of working dogs that were used to helping maintain flocks of livestock so they were bred to have exceptional amounts of energy. For some people, this extra exercise wouldn’t be a problem, but for a family that does not have enough time every day to exercise the Aussie, your dog may become bored and destructive to your home.
Simple research on the breed might have changed your mind about the Australian Shepherd, especially if you cannot commit to a high-energy dog. It goes the same for any animal: cat, dog, hamster, guinea pig, or rat. If you don’t know about the breed, you can’t be sure it’s the right fit for your home and lifestyle.
Additionally, certain breeds have characteristics that are commonly found across all members of that breed. For example, Beagles and other hounds tend to bark. Aussies and Border Collies are working dogs and have a lot of energy, and Huskies need a lot of enrichment activities otherwise they will become bored and may start damaging your furniture or may attempt to run away.
Before you decide to get a dog or cat, make sure you evaluate your lifestyle and choose the pet that best suits your needs. Think about the following factors before deciding on a pet:
- How much time do I have to spend with the pet?
- What kind of energy levels do I want in a pet?
- How much space do I have in my home?
- Do I have a yard for my pet?
- How much do I want to spend on food? Grooming? Toys and treats?
- What temperament do I want in a pet?
Pet-Proof the Home – Outdoors and Indoors
Inexperienced pet owners believe as long as they have a fence outside, their new pet will be safe. Even if there is a fence, dogs can dig holes, find gaps in the fence large enough to get through, and in some cases, even jump over the fence. While they are in the yard, they may dig through gardens, get into unsecured sheds, or worse. When you first bring a new pet home, make sure you watch it in the yard and look for anything it can get into.
Unfortunately, if the interior of the home isn’t pet-proofed, that could spell disaster. If you leave anything at puppy level, the puppy will likely get into it. If there are rugs on the floor and the puppy isn’t potty trained, you’ll also deal with pee stains. When you are pet-proofing your home, remove anything that the dog or cat could get into and make sure anything fragile is put away until the animal is older used to your home, and has been better trained.
Remember, pets explore, and when they are brought into a new environment, and they can be nervous. They’re likely excited, scared, and a bit anxious, so they may get into things they aren’t supposed to. For example, cats may claw sofas, dogs could get into unsecured cupboards, and rabbits might chew through electrical cords.
To avoid these issues, you will need to pet-proof the home. This is as much about protecting the animal as it is about the home.
Pets are Time Consuming
Whether you adopt a puppy, kitten, hamster, or horse, they are going to take up a considerable amount of your time. Pets aren’t playthings for you to pass the time when there’s nothing else to do; they are a companion for the rest of their lives. You have to be prepared to care for them and be a responsible pet owner throughout the duration.
Every day you will need to spend time taking care of your pet. While cats, rodents, and reptiles may be less daily work than a dog, they still require regular cleaning and feeding. Besides taking care of them, you must spend time socializing your pets as well. There is no set time you should spend on socialization because every animal is different, but you should count on at least 30 minutes a day if not more for most animals.
For dogs, you will need to spend a couple of hours each day taking care of them. Dogs need daily exercise, handling, training, feeding, bathing, and attention. For someone who is a busy working professional, finding the time can be challenging as it will require a significant change in lifestyle. If you already participate in daily exercise and activity, the lifestyle change will be less extreme, but you will need to be prepared to spend more time outside.
Regular Veterinary Care Is Required
Pets require routine health checkups which means added expenses. If you’re bringing a new pet into your home, you have to be prepared for the financial side of it. Any routine or emergency treatments will also be your responsibility. And, if they injure someone or cause damage to property, that will also fall falls on your shoulders. You have to be prepared to take on those responsibilities.
Luckily, pet insurance can help with this aspect of pet ownership. Instead of paying the expensive vet bills for every visit, you will simply pay a set monthly premium. If you need to use the insurance, you’ll only pay up to the set deductible and the pet insurance company will take care of the rest. For more information on the best pet insurance, make sure to check out our expert guides.
Household pets are a part of your family. When you introduce them into the home for the first time, things might be bumpy. There will be times when the animal doesn’t do what they’re told. You have to know how to handle a pet with care and how to be a responsible pet owner.
While you can read books on how to train, check out blogs with the best tips on how to introduce a new pet into the household, and do all your research on the breed, there will still be some surprises. Like humans, each pet will be different and will have unique challenges. For example, some dogs take to potty training instantly, but others may not be fully potty trained until they are a year old.
However, there is some level of preparation you can do before you pick up your new family member. To be as prepared to introduce your new pet as possible, follow these tips.
- Evaluate your lifestyle and decide which pet is right for you.
- Research the breed of the animal you are introducing to your family.
- Talk to your children about the responsibilities of pet ownership and how to respect an animal’s space.
- Find pet insurance to cover accidents and unexpected illnesses.
- Set up an initial vet visit to create a relationship with a local vet and to make sure your new pet is in good health.
- Find the closest emergency vet in the area in case something unexpected happens.
- Decide who will train your new pet and how you will do it.
- Decide where your new pet will sleep. In a crate? In the bathroom? In the laundry room? In the bedroom? Will the
- sleeping arrangements change as it gets older?
- Buy all the supplies necessary for your new pet. Dogs will need leashes, collars, name tags, toys, etc.; cats will need a litter box, beds, cat toys, etc.
- Pet-proof your home so that the new animal will be safe.
By following these steps, you will be as prepared for your new family member as possible.
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Introduce Other Pets Gradually
If you have other pets in the household, don’t introduce them immediately. While some dogs will be instant best friends, it will take others some time to warm up to each other. If you are adopting a new dog, many shelters will require your dog and the new dog to meet before the adoption is complete. When you are introducing a new puppy to your home, take it slow and watch their body language.
This is especially important for cats because some cats can be territorial. When introducing two cats, don’t expect them to get along immediately. In fact, your resident cat may hide or hiss at the new cat. But don’t worry, they will come around to each other eventually. Even if they never turn out to be best friends, they will get along.
When introducing cats, try keeping the new cat locked in the bathroom or laundry room with its own litter box and food. That way, your resident cat won’t feel threatened by the new cat using its litter box or eating all the food. If the two cats are separated by a door, they can sniff each other from underneath the doors and get used to each other’s scents. After a few days of this arrangement, you can let them meet. Just make sure to monitor all interactions until you know they get along.
Don’t Give Your Pet Free Range of the House Immediately
The biggest mistake that new pet owners can make is giving their new pet free range of their entire house. Not only does this invite the possibility for your pet to get into things it shouldn’t, but you may end up losing your new kitten or puppy if they find a small, cozy spot to hide.
As a new pet owner, you’ll want to monitor your new pet to make sure they are safely interacting with their environments. So instead of letting them have the entire house, keep them on the main floor, in the bathroom, or in the laundry room while they acclimate to their new home.
It Will Take Time for Your New Pet to Adjust
Adjusting to a new environment takes time, so you can expect your new pet to be nervous when you first bring it home. For the first few days, you may notice extra exploring, pacing, chewing, or anxiety from your new pet. This is normal and once your pet gets used to the new sounds, smells, and routine, it will start to settle down.
Introducing a new pet into your home can be an exciting and wonderful time. Not only are you inviting a new family member into your home, but you are creating a bond that will last a lifetime. That said, there is a lot of planning that goes into getting a new pet. So before you bring your new pet home, follow the guidelines above for an easy transition.
* This content is not provided by the financial institution or the offer’s provider. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and does not constitute a financial or expert advice.