Smart ways to prepare before adopting your first furry family member

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by Penny Martin, guest author,

You know how expectant parents tend to buy lots of books and spend hours reading about what to expect, plus countless more hours getting their home ready for the new baby? For first-time pet parents, getting ready to bring home your new fur baby may not be quite as life changing, but it’s still a pretty big deal. That’s why we’re here to give you the rundown on what to expect, and how to make sure you’re ready for your new addition.

Finding the Right Furry Family Member

Even if you already have a dog breed in mind, or maybe you have your heart set on a cat, it’s still smart to think about how that pet, their personality, size and age will fit in with your family’s routines.

How much time do you have for a pet?

Before choosing a pet, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends thinking about your family’s schedule, including how often you’re away from home and how much attention you can give your pet. All pets need attention, but keep in mind that dogs need training and exercise, so they typically take up more time than cats.

The age and personality of your pet will make a difference, too. If you get an adult dog, he may already be house trained and understand some basic commands, whereas puppies have to learn everything, which means all that training falls on you!

Is your home well suited for a pet?

dog in yard

Make sure you think about your home environment before choosing a pet, too. If you plan on getting a dog, do you have a fenced yard for playtime, or do you plan on installing one? Think about where your pet will sleep, as well as whether any areas will be off limits. Of course, another consideration is whether anyone in your home has allergies to animals.

Making Your New Pet Feel at Home

Once you’ve chosen the perfect pet for your family, it’s important to put just as much thought and time into preparing to bring them home. There will always be an adjustment period as you and your pet adapt to life together, but getting prepared ahead of time will make this adjustment easier for you both.

Finding a Vet

cat at veterinary office

Go ahead and research vets in your area and check out their credentials before your pet joins the family. Keep in mind that new puppies and kittens may need a vet visit right away. If you’re worried about the cost of vet care, you may want to consider pet insurance. Just make sure you look closely at the details of each plan, including the scope of services covered and how much your deductible will be.

Getting the Gear

Thankfully, animals require much less gear than babies. You don’t have to buy everything under the sun, but you do need to have the essentials (food and water bowls, quality food, a leash for dogs) plus comforting items that will make them feel at home. This might include a cozy bed, along with a variety of toys. Remember that puppies and kittens are extremely playful, and they will chew. This behavior is in their nature, so instead of fighting it, have a plan for training and plenty of chew toys so they can learn what’s allowed.

dog chewing nerf dog toy

Settling In

If you’ve ever moved to a new home, you know that it feels strange at first. Your new pet will feel the same way, and a rescue animal may be even more anxious. But as Modern Dog Magazine explains, patience and consistency will go a long way toward helping a new dog settle into his surroundings.

Remember that this transition is new for your pet, too, and they can’t even tell you how they feel (at least, not in words). That’s why patience, combined with preparedness, is key to making this adjustment easier. Then before you know it, you won’t even be able to imagine what life was like without them.

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