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Hints For First Time Pet Owners

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Make Room for the Furball: Hints for First-Time Pet Owners


It should be simple. Pay a visit to an adoption shelter, look for the cutest one, bring it home, teach it to go outside (or in the litter box), feed it, water it, and give it a toy to chew on or chase. But there’s a lot more to pet ownership than that – there are responsibilities.


Sadly, some people don’t realize what’s involved and adopt pets only to later return them to the shelter. Sadly, some end up abandoned, abused, or neglected.


Pet ownership is a commitment to raising, training and loving what will become a part of your family. There are some steps involved, though. You need to decide which type of pet you want; what you have room for; how much money can you budget for its care; and how much time you can commit to it. It’s a lot like buying a car. The only difference is that the pet won’t run the risk of leaking oil or getting a dent in the parking lot. LIkewise, a car won’t wag its trunk when it sees you.

tips in mind.


  1. Make Sure There’s Room in Your Home

It’s best to adopt a pet that fits within the size of the home you have. For instance, if you currently live in a garden apartment, you should not adopt a puppy that’s going to grow into the massive size of Scooby-Doo. Keep in mind that puppies grow up quickly. Cats are good for any size home, just understand that they do like windows. If you have a house, your dog will need a yard, so make sure there’s plenty of room to play and use the bathroom. If you don’t have a yard or the one you have is too small, you’ll need to walk your dog frequently.


You will also need to help your new pet get used to its new home once you walk through the front door with it. Keep all noises to a minimum and let the pet sniff around on its own – inside and out. Rescue pets will probably be fearful, so you’ll need to stay with them and form a bond of trust. Take things easy for the first few weeks and establish a routine of feeding and playtime.


  1. Make Sure There’s Room in Your Budget

Pet care can become expensive. According to The New York Times, first-year dog ownership can run anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000, which includes food, visits to the veterinarian, toys and other supplies. Cat owners can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per year. If you live in an apartment or other rental property, the landlord will probably require you to pay pet rent in addition to your monthly rent. Even fish, small reptiles, or birds have costs associated with them. If you feel you cannot meet these expenses, you probably shouldn’t get a pet. Otherwise, you should factor pet care into your monthly budget.


  1. Make Sure There’s Room in Your Life

As mentioned earlier, some adopt dogs and cats only to neglect them or mistreat them. It doesn’t do the pet or yourself much good if you adopt one and do nothing except feed it. Spend some time each day and actively play with your pet. Go on hikes or even locate pet-friendly hotels and take it on vacation with you. This way you’re doing more than just feeding your animal food – you’re feeding it your attention and love.


Pet ownership also contributes to the recovery of addiction survivors. Companion animals can help recovery addicts develop a sense of responsibility, reduce stress and anxiety and help cultivate empathy toward others.


If you’re positive you have room in your home, budget, and life for a pet, then you’re ready to add a new friend to your life – one who will love you unconditionally and be a faithful companion for many years to come.