Essential Tips For First-Time Pet Owners: A Guide

By: Jessica Brody

When you’re ready to get a pet, there are so many things to think about other than just making sure you have food and water for him. Animals need lots of love, care, and attention, and it’s a good idea to have a little padding in your bank account before you make the decision to acquire one. Even if he’s perfectly healthy, a pet will require vaccinations, flea and tick medication, heartworm prevention, and items for his daily comfort, such as bedding and toys.

It’s also imperative to make sure your home and family are ready for a new pet and all the responsibilities that come with one. Animal-proofing your house is essential for his safety, and your family needs to be aware of your pet’s needs -- such as daily walks, a feeding schedule, and playtime to get out extra energy -- so that you won’t have behavioral issues down the road.

Before you get started, you need to know how to choose the right animal for you. If you have young kids or if your backyard is on the small side, certain breeds will be better than others. Do some research before making a decision. 

Keep reading for some great tips on how to choose the right pet and prepare for ownership.


Research Some Breeds

There are many different breeds of pet to choose from, and not all of them will be right for your family. Do some research into which breeds are best with kids, which typically need more medical care, and which ones are the best guard dogs. Depending on your family’s needs, you can narrow down your search even more. Keep in mind that large dogs need more space to run around in and that many small breeds tend to bark often.


Prepare the Neighbors

Letting your neighbors know that you’re getting a new dog is important, especially if they have small children or pets themselves. Once you know what type of dog you’ll be getting, prepare them for your new arrival and make sure that any fencing between your homes is intact and in good shape.


Get Your House Ready

You can prepare your home in several ways for a new pet, including making sure there are no safety hazards such as small items he might choke on, exposed wires, or toxic plants (check the backyard, too). Put up pet gates along stairwells or in front of rooms that you don’t want your pet to have access to, and keep foods such as grapes and chocolate – which are toxic to dogs – well out of his reach.

It’s also important to make sure you have everything your pet needs, from bedding to food. Having it ready when he arrives will help him feel more comfortable and settle in a bit more quickly. Pets  especially rescue animals – need to feel safe no matter where they are. Because dogs feel most vulnerable while sleeping, it’s essential that you find the right bed and resting spot for him.

Make sure you have a high-quality vacuum to clean up hair and dander. Do some research online to find the best vacuums on the market. Accidents do happen, so you’ll also want to be prepared to pick up messes, especially if they’re on your carpet. 


Introduce Him Slowly

It’s a good idea to introduce your pet to people slowly so he can become acclimated in a calm environment. Once he’s home, let him spend time with the immediate family first, then invite a friend or two over to meet him. Socializing him slowly will prevent him from feeling overwhelmed and will keep everyone safe and happy.

Choosing the right animal and having a good plan for his arrival at your home is imperative and can set the tone for the rest of your relationship. With some simple preparations and a positive attitude, you can help your new pet feel at home with you and your family.



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