Why you should prepare to be a first-time pet owner

By Jessica Brody (OurBestFriends.pet) - guest writer. 

It is too easy to walk into a shelter or pet store, fall in love with a cuddly kitten or precocious puppy, and bring home a bundle of fur. But, that sense of joy can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re not adequately prepared for pet ownership. 

Without the proper planning, home preparations, and knowledge, you won’t be able to provide your pet with the safe, appropriate home he deserves. And, you’ll regret an otherwise good decision had you been more prepared.

  Preparing to be first time pet owner

1. If You Don’t Do Your Homework, You Could End Up with the Wrong Pet

How could a pet be the wrong one? Well, for example, if you adopt a long-haired cat and have allergies, you could be miserable in a matter of minutes. Doing your homework to determine the right breed of dog or cat for you is essential to having a long, happy relationship with your first pet. 


Thankfully, MSN has curated a list of the best and worst cat breeds for people with allergies. Persian cats, Maine Coon cats, black cats, and Norwegian Forest cats are on the list to avoid. On the other hand, Sphynx cats, Siberian cats, Cornish Rex cats, Russian Blue cats, and Balinese cats are considered more hypoallergenic. 

Similarly, EverydayHealth has curated a list of the best and worst dog breeds for people who have pet allergies. A schnauzer, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Labradoodle, Portuguese Water Dog, or Xoloitzcuintli are usually the best dog breeds for people with pet dander allergies. Conversely, a Saint Bernard, bulldog, German Shepherd, Boston Terrier, and Pekingese should be avoided by people who have allergies to dogs. If you are not allergic to animals, you should consider characteristics of the animal you intend to adopt before taking the plunge. 

For example, if you have a small apartment and adopt a high-energy Border Collie, you both will struggle. Dogs that need lots of stimulation and exercise do better in homes with kids and large yards. But, if you have your heart set on a high-energy dog and work too much to take him outside as often as you should, you can always hire a dog walker to cover for you, so be sure to consider all the options for providing for your new pet’s needs.

2. If You Don’t Prepare Your Home, Your Pet Won’t Be Safe

You may have friends who spent weeks baby-proofing their homes when their infants began rolling over and crawling. In reality, pet-proofing your home is just as important for the safety and well-being of your new four-legged baby. Even if you are adopting a more mature animal, you should prepare your home for his arrival with time to spare. Some of the best practices for pet-proofing your home include:
  • Using childproof latches to keep your new pet from getting into cabinets, closets, or cupboards that contain cleaning products or food that he should not have
  • Keeping medication, laundry supplies (especially detergent pods), and chemicals out of reach of your pet even if you use childproof latches
  • Covering trash cans or keeping them out of reach
  • Eliminating loose wires or cords from electronics
  • Ensuring your plants are not poisonous

3. If You Don’t Consider How to Acclimate Your New Pet to Your Home, He Won’t Feel Comfortable

Of course, you will want to play with your pet and get to know him as soon as you bring him home. But your pet will need some time to adjust to his new surroundings, and you need to help him through the transition to make it easier for everyone. This is especially true if you have adopted a rescue animal who may have been abused or in a shelter for quite some time. 

One of the best ways to help your pet feel at home is to give him his own space. You should have a dog or cat bed and toys in a dedicated space. You also should keep his food and water in the same place. Many dogs feel more comfortable in a crate or cage, so consider getting one for your new pet.

Similarly, if your cat needs a hiding place, make a cage available to him and allow him to remain in his cage when guests visit, especially if they bring their dog along. Becoming a first-time pet owner will be more enjoyable for you and your new pet if you do your homework first, prepare your home, and take steps to acclimate him to your home. 

Image via Pixabay by Free-Photos.

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