Your First Pet: Add a Furry Friend to Your Home
About 68 percent of American homes have a pet of some kind, a recent study shows. That’s an estimated 84.6 million pet-owning households total. There are many reasons why people have pets. Millennials see their pets as “starter children” on which they can practice their nurturing skills. Parents like to add pets to their homes as a way to encourage responsibility and activity in their children. Older people and senior citizens enjoy the company and unconditional love that pets provide. And some people simply love animals and don’t care to live without the joys of seeing their dog or cat greeting them once they come home.
Picking Your Pet
If you want to make a thoughtful choice about what kind of animal to pick as your future pet, look around your house. This is the environment that pet will spend the majority of their time, so you want to make sure they are compatible. A large and hyperactive dog isn’t going to be comfortable in a cramped apartment. If you are in a living situation with limited space, opt for a smaller breed or even a cat that will be comfortable and happy with what you can provide.
Your lifestyle is also big factor when it comes to picking a pet. If you work long hours and live alone, you will have to pay for dog walkers and sitters to stop by and help with letting your dog outside. For those who want less of a time commitment, cats use the restroom in their designated litter boxes and sleep over 15 hours a day, so you can feel OK about leaving them at home alone.
The Adoption Option
Whether you want a cat or a dog, a large breed or teeny-tiny pet, adopting your pet from a shelter is the compassionate and smart thing to do. The reasons people avoid shelter pets are shallow. However, shelter pets provide the same amount of unconditional love as anyone adopted from a breeder. Furthermore, the animals you find in shelters generally come from mixed-genetic backgrounds, which can mean there is less of a chance of that animal developing a genetic disorder more commonly found in purebreds.
Preparing Your Home
If your home has a backyard but no fence, it is a good idea to work on a secure boundary if you plan on adopting a dog. If you already have a fence, check it for holes and other escape routes that your pup could sniff out.
One thing many new pet owners don’t consider is the amount of cleaning that goes into having a pet. Fur and dander are inevitable, but they don’t have to take over your house. Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner that eliminates hair and removes dander. If you’re vacuuming carpet, you’ll want a model with strong suction power and a filtration system.
First-time pet owners also need to stock up on pet-safe cleaning products including carpet stain remover, antibacterial spray and hard surface cleaners.
Your Pet’s First Day
When the big day arrives and you bring your pet home, it can take a bit for them to adjust to the new environment. Avoid pressuring your pet to spend time in common areas that are full of noise and excess stimuli. Instead, let your pet explore on their own and continue your daily routines. The more normal you act, the faster your new pet will adjust. You can bond with your new pet by playing with toys and giving out treats that make positive associations in your pet’s mind– but don’t put too much pressure on a rescue pet that appears nervous or fearful. Your furry friend will come around on their own with time, it simply takes patience on your part.
Millions of people have pets in their home for many reasons. If you are interested in adopting a furry friend, be mindful about your lifestyle and choose a pet that correlates with your environment. Always consider adoption — the benefits outweigh the shallow reasons people choose to go to breeders instead. Prepare your home to make sure everything is secure to keep your pet safe. Finally, let your pet explore their new environment and give them time to adjust. With love and support, they will eventually feel at home with you.
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