How to Prepare Before Bringing Home a Pet
There’s something missing from your house—something warm and furry that you can play with and cuddle on cold winter nights. That’s right—you need a pet, as no home is complete without one. Though they can be a major responsibility, four-legged friends are a great source of joy and comfort. So, are you ready to head to the pound and pick up a puppy? Hold on a minute. There are a few questions to ask yourself.
What type of pet should you get?
Dogs, cats, bunnies, and hamsters: they’re all lovable, but they’re not all right for you, so choose wisely. You should consider the animal’s personality as well as your lifestyle and habits, according to Blue Cross for Pets. For example, if you’re on the road a lot, you might want to avoid beagles because they don’t take well to separation, while a vizsla can be a jogger’s best friend, as they love to exercise.
Cats also have their own attitudes (catitudes?) depending on breed. Manx are noted for being more dog-like and willing to learn tricks, whereas Birman play it cool and keep to themselves. The matter even extends to hamsters, and a lack of knowledge of their habits can be lethal. Territorial Syrians are likely to fight to the death if kept in the same cage.
Your choices are likely narrowed down right off the bat based on where you live and the size of your home. Collies need plenty of room to frolic, so access to a large yard or a park is a must. Dachshunds, however, may be content in a small apartment, as would many breeds of indoor cats. Oh, and visit an allergist before it’s too late, since you don’t want to pick a pet that makes you sniffle and sneeze.
Is your home ready for your pet?
This is especially important for puppies because they love to learn about the world by biting and sniffing. That means you’re going to have to keep anything chewable out of reach, including cords, cables, and valuables that would fit in his mouth. In fact, you may want to do the same for adult dogs, as they can be more puppy-like than you think.
There’s just as much work to be done for cats, which love to use their claws. If you don’t want your furniture tattered to shreds, then a scratching post is a must. And take those decorative plates down from on top of the cabinet. Consummate climbers, it’s only a matter of time before your purring pal gets up there and wreaks havoc.
Remember, your critter shouldn’t keep you from carrying on with your own life, and that’s not easy if your dwelling stinks to high heaven. Stock up on shampoo for your dog or cat, and look into methods of removing scents from carpets so you’re ready when they make a little mess. Enzymatic products are one option, while many animal owners swear by vinegar and baking soda. Upholstery and furniture are a little tougher to clean and should probably be done by a professional, but as with cleaning carpets, it’s important for pet owners to do: if a pet “goes” in a spot once that isn’t cleaned well afterward, he may return to the spot multiple times.
You’re also going to want to clean get rid of pet hair that accumulates on carpet. Check out this guide on the best vacuums for cleaning carpet.
Is your pet ready for your home?
The short answer is “no,” and this is especially true for rescues, which often suffer from fear and anxiety following years on the streets and in shelters. But it’s a laudable thing to take in a rescue pet. “When you adopt a dog, you’re giving him a second chance at life, but you’re also helping to make room for other animals in need of a home,” says Puppy Leaks, a website devoted to dog care.
There are ways to make the transition easier for rescues as well as other animals. Keep the arrival low-key, gently introduce your friends and family, and set aside time to spend with your pet as he settles in. The most important step is bonding, which will promote trust and build loyalty. Small gestures like petting, grooming, or taking your pet for a walk go a long way.
By now, you should be having plenty of fun with the newest member of your family no matter what animal you’ve chosen. Perhaps it’s time for a treat. Who wants a biscuit?
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