By Jessica Brody at ourbestfriends.pet
The benefits of pet ownership are well documented. Pets can make people happier, promote exercise, teach responsibility, and provide unconditional love. But if you have never owned a pet before, the prospect of bringing home a new companion may seem intimidating. It doesn’t have to be.
Here’s how you should think about the process of bringing in a new animal into your home.
Make sure you are choosing the correct companion
You may already have a species or breed in mind. However, before committing to anything, you should do due diligence and take into consideration your life circumstances. If you work long hours or have limited amounts of space, then a high-energy puppy may not be an ideal choice, regardless of how cute he may be. If you have allergies, you’ll want to consider breeds that don’t shed as much.
Keep in mind also that millions of loyal, loving animals are out there looking for their “forever home.” So don’t limit yourself to only traditional pet stores or breeders. Seek out nonprofit rescues or organizations that can connect with animals who need your help.
Be sure to get your new pet acclimated
Once you have found your ideal companion, you’ll begin the process of acclimating your new pet to your space and lifestyle. Before your animal arrives, go through your home and inspect to make sure everything is as “pet proof” as possible. If you are bringing home a dog, make sure low cabinets don’t have harmful products or items in them that may harm your furry friend. If you are bringing home a cat, make sure windows are fully closed to avoid escapes from nimble, nervous feet.
If possible, try to bring your new pet home at the beginning of your weekend. If you’ve got extra vacation or sick days, consider using one or two. Your new companion needs time to bond with you, so it’s smart to maximize your time together in those early days to speed up the process. Just remember to be patient! These things take time, especially if you have adopted an animal that is either old or extremely skittish, possibly because he has experienced past trauma.
Don’t forget about maintenance
Selecting and bringing home a pet is only the beginning. When the initial excitement of having a new pet calms down, it is typically replaced by routines and a deeper connection that can only come with time. For this phase of pet ownership, you should stay focused on preparation for routine costs. For example, start putting money aside for potential medical emergencies that may arise as your pet ages.
Also take into consideration the wear and tear pets put on your home. You may want to consider getting your carpets professionally cleaned in order to remove any pet odors or stains from your home. Many people wait until they are ready to sell their home to care about such issues, but proactive cleaning can save you headaches and precious dollars in the long run. And the cost is surprisingly reasonable. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to clean carpets or rugs in a home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ranges from $90 to $170.
Owning any pet is a big responsibility. However, studies have shown that a majority of Americans consider their pets part of the family. For them—and hopefully for you—the time, energy, and money you put into your pet’s well-being are definitely worth it.
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